The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey is one of my favorite books of all time. What I have learned from reading and practicing the habits has influenced me personally and professionally.
I was introduced to this book more than twenty years ago. Since then, I have read, re-read, and taught concepts from the book.
As a coach, it has been one of the best tools to help clients, both leaders and individual contributors, become more effective in their roles.
The 7 Habits are separated into the following parts.
Private Victory includes three Habits: Be Proactive, Begin with the End in Mind and Put First Things First.
These habits are designed to help you establish independence and personal responsibility. It is in this area that you discover those things (thoughts and actions) that impact your effectiveness.
Covey encourages readers to control the most important things they can control: themselves. You come face to face with the reality that you can learn to manage yourself from the inside out.
It requires you to establish and keep commitments to yourself. That requires ridding yourself of unproductive thinking and ways of behaving to get more of the results you want.
Mastering yourself is well within your circle of control. Using your power to choose that which is best, gets you the results you want and less of the results you do not want.
Once you develop these habits, you are ready to move forward to the next arena.
Whereas Habits related to "Private Victory" help you gain independence, Public Victory is where you learn just how interdependent you are.
Now, you get to develop and exercise those skills needed to work well with others. The focus here is on building trust, working collectively and collaborately. It is the "stuff" true effectiveness is made of.
It is in the Public Victory that credibility is earned and on display.
Not only do you put forth your ideas and opinions, but you demonstrate restraint and allow others to share their ideas and opinions. Even when you disagree - especially when you disagree.
It is in Public Victory that Covey identifies six paradigms of human interaction.
You have to have a consistent method to replenish. Renewal is the place for doing that, establishing balance in work and in life.
When your energy and strength are depleted, creativity and collaboration diminishes.
To prevent this, you must do what Covey calls "Sharpen the Saw."
Habits are powerful. Hard to believe? Maybe you will convince yourself with this.
To dramatically improve your effectiveness, commit the 7 Habits to life. Doing so has proven invaluable to me and my clients.
They are "must haves" for every professional who desires to be highly effective.
- Tom Peters