What is Your Favorite Habit of the 7 Habits of Stephen Covey?

By Alan Gehringer

dateSun, Sep 15, 2019 @ 09:00 AM

Our team recently completed a leadership development training on the “7 Habits of Managers.” The material is based on Stephen R. Covey’s famous 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the number one business book of all time with more than 25 million copies sold in 40 languages throughout the world. The great thing about the material is that it can be used in your personal and professional lives.

Here is a brief overview of the 7 habits of highly effective people:

Habit 1: Be Proactive: Use your resourcefulness and initiative to break the barriers to results. The main idea is that there is always a way to get it done if you have the right attitude and mindset. Be proactive about your life, take responsibility and do not blame others. Do not worry about things beyond your control and focus on the things you can influence.

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind: Make the great contribution you are capable of making. Here Mr. Covey teaches us to have a clear vision of what we are trying to accomplish before we begin something.  Develop clear success criteria that helps you know that you have reached your goals. You first create the mental vision and then do the actual work.

Habit 3: Put First Things First: Focus on a few “wildly important goals” and track your progress. Of course, this is a concept we use at Rhythm Systems by coaching clients to develop their top 3-5 priorities for the year and quarter and focus on the successful completion of these. Focus on the things that have the biggest impact and do the most important work when you are at your best during the day.

Habit 4: Think Win-Win: Make “Win –Win Performance Agreements” to motivate superb performance. Set clear expectations together so that people can manage themselves and exercise a high degree of accountability. Develop a cooperative arena, not a competitive one, where everybody wins or there is no deal. Exercise three vital character traits: integrity, maturity, and abundance.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood: Practice empathetic listening and give honest, accurate feedback. Do not start thinking about your response until the other person is finished talking. Create an atmosphere of give and take, and take the time to truly understand first.

Habit 6: Synergize: Always seek the third alternative – the truly creative solution or decision. Do not accept the status quo, instead continue to look for improvements or better ways of doing things. Blow up your own products or processes before your competitors do. Work with others to develop better solutions together. Two minds are better than one, proving that one plus one can equal six. Value each other’s differences.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw: Unleash the potential of your team members by tapping the “whole person.” Unleash the total strength, passion and capability of your people. Work towards the highest contribution you and others can make. Preserve and renew yourself by working on four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental and spiritual. Sharpening the saw keeps you fresh to practice the other six habits.

As you work through these habits, the goal is to move from a dependent mode of operation to an independent and finally to an interdependent state. This is the stage where we work to support the growth of the team and individuals within it. Mr. Covey teaches that we must experience each stage until we arrive at interdepence.

“A good leader inspires a team to have confidence in the leader.A great leader inspires a team to have confidence in themselves.” Richard Kovacevich,CEO, Wells Fargo

So, let me leave you with a few questions to ask yourself: 

  • What is your favorite habit?
  • How may of the seven do you exercise?
  • Which one could you improve on the most?
  • Does your team embrace the habits?

Please let me know your thoughts. Good luck as you grow, Alan


Executive Summary from Patrick Thean's book Rhythm

Alan Gehringer


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