Tag Archives: Stephen R Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Conclusions

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

By Stephen R. Covey

[The following is a synopsis of The 7 Habits]


It’s a dark and stormy night in the Atlantic Ocean, the communication officer runs from the bridge to the captain’s quarters and to say;

“Captain, there is light in our sea lane but it will not move out of our path!”

The captain exhausted in his bunker says “Well, tell them to move starboard!”

Minutes later the communications officer returns to the captain’s quarters stating that the person at the other end of the line has signaled back to the ship the following message: “No, you must move starboard.”

This enraged the captain. He got dressed rapidly, put on his captain’s hat, threw on his war medals, and rushed to the bridge. He could not believe the situation as the light was now extremely close to the bow of his ship.

The captain turns to his communications officer and says “Let them know who I am.” The officer quickly signaled: “This is the HMS Dreadnought ordering you to move starboard immediately.”

The person on the other end responded. “Yes, well this is the light house.”

Correct Principles/Habits are lighthouses: they do not move. We cannot break principles, we cannot force principles to change; ONLY we can change. We must learn to accommodate them because they free us and empower us.

T.S. Eliot once said:

“We shall never cease from exploring,

And the end of all of our exploring,

Will be to arrive where we began

And to know the place for the first time.”

We already know the 7 Habits but what is commonsense is not practice. That’s why:

We need to learn the 7 Habits,

We need to teach the 7 Habits,

We need to live the 7 Habits, and through this we will become lighthouses in our own lives.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Habit 7 > Sharpening the Saw

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
By Stephen R. Covey [The following is a synopsis of The 7 Habits]
HABIT 7: Sharpening the Saw.

[IMAGINE THIS SITUATION]: Someone is sawing down a tree. You say, “What are you doing?” She says, “It’s obvious that I’ve been sawing this tree for hours.” You say, “I bet you’re tired.” She responds, “You have no idea.” You say, “Well why don’t you sharpen the saw?” She says, “’cause I’m too busy sawing, you goof!”

Take Time to Sharpen the Saw: Have you ever been too busy cooking  to take the time to wash the dishes?
Sharpening the saw means preserving the four dimensions of your nature.

Your physical self: stretching aerobics, exercise. Maintain your respiratory system. The key to energy is oxygen.

Your mental self: Read, learn constantly, seek to understand the world around you.

Your spiritual self: Renew your commitment to your value system. Do it in a way that is congruent with your own philosophy. Think deeply about fundamental issues> that is providing leadership. Then the mental planning is habit 3. You visualize your roles and goals each week, then you review that each day you are also in habit 3.

Your social emotional self: Do Habits 4, 5, 6. You will seek a win/win, listen, a provide creative problem solving. Come up with a better psychological agreement. If it is well done in a balanced and regular way, you will entrench the 7 Habits.

You need to exercise these four dimensions REGULARLY. This will help to maintain the other 6 Habits of Highly Effective People.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Habit 6 > Synergize

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People By Stephen R. Covey

[The following is a synopsis of The 7 Habits]

HABIT 6: Synergize

When people come up with a solution that is better than what they both wanted alone: that’s called synergy. It’s not the same as compromise.

“Find a new and better solution”: You want to go on vacation at a lake to go fishing/but you want to go on vacation in B. You could be into martyrdom: they win, you lose. OR you could be into authoritarianism OR you could agree to communicate.

You have to say: let’s find a solution that we would both feel good about. I understand why you want to go on vacation to see your ill father but understand that I want to take the kids fishing as well. A mutual understanding will not always be lose/win, we create something that is not necessarily compromise. You could agree to go to a lake near her father. It’s Win/Win because you have satisfied both interests & your relationship is strengthen by this decision.

Compromise means 1 + 1 = 1.5
Legal, industrial disputes end up as compromise.
But synergy says that is more than the sum of their parts.

Example: I want the window closed, She wants the window open.

Why do you want the window closed?

A: Papers are being blown around.

Why do you want the window open?

A: Fresh air.

What can we do?

Open the window in another room.

[{The key point}]: Is that when people communicate with respect, then they can come up with solutions that work for everyone, and it is better than the sum of its parts. Canada is an example of a society that is not compromise but a synergy.

You can make a better alternative by being creative. Get deep in 4,5,6 AND use your creative capacities to produce opportunities to Win/Win.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Habit 5 > Seek to Understand Before Being Understood

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
By Stephen R. Covey

[The following is a synopsis of The 7 Habits]

HABIT 5: Seek first to Understand, then to be Understood: If you want to interact effectively with someone, you first need to understand them. Seeking to understand before being understood is a paradigm shift because most people want to be understood. Once you feel understood, you are open, happier. You need to be empathic. Understand how the other person feels. It is so much harder to listen than it is to speak.

Don’t prescribe from your own experiences: A father says; “I don’t understand my son because he won’t listen to me.” Wrong attitude father> I already understand him because of my own autobiography. The assumption that your experience is transferable is always false.

Why People Don’t Listen: If you deeply listen to another, the risk is that you might be changed, unless you have a changeless value. People who pretend to care very little for other people’s opinions care too much about those opinions. That’s why they are not listening. They are too vulnerable and insecure about themselves.

“Let me listen to you first.” The collective monolog, dialogue of the deaf. Communicate, listening then expressing. Empathic listening: practice at night.

[IMAGINE THIS SITUATION]: I was in the hotel room, and participants were there to make a major deal. It looked as if I was going to lose the deal, however. All my eggs were in one basket. I had nothing to lose because the deal was obviously sunk, so I decided to use Habit 5: I decided to listen, and then be understood. I said let me understand your position: I really want to understand it. “I sense you want this, you worry about this, and if you don’t get this you are in danger. I understand you.” & the business man got the deal. If you meet the person on their level they will feel validated, and be understood. That is more important than the technical dimensions of the deal. Making someone feel understood….

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Habit 4 > Think Win/Win

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
By Stephen R. Covey

[The following is a synopsis of The 7 Habits]

HABIT 4: Think Win/Win:
“Why don’t we agree to communicate and find out what we can agree upon.”
Win/Win is not a cosmetic idea, it is a philosophy designed to look for solutions that allow everyone to win. Is it really possible? Some believe that it is idealistic, especially in the competitive business world. BUT what if you try going win/lose? You lose customers. What if you go for lose, win, you lose your business? The only realistic approach is win/win.

If you let your friend get only what he wants, it’s a win/lose.
Lose, win is being nice and is not a good idea. Nice guys finish last.
Win, win is more rigorous, because you have to be nice but confident, empathic but brave. It is the balance between self-respect and respect for others, which is the fruits of Habits 1, 2, 3.
What if you can’t get Win/Win?:
The alternative is Win, Win or No deal. If there is no deal you will stop manipulating. If we can’t work out a win, win deal then we must go for no deal. I/You don’t have to manipulate you, no point going into no deal situation.

There is enough to go around for everyone: that’s the abundance mentality (optimism) as opposed to the scarcity mentality (pessimism) i.e. lose, win or win, lose.

So it’s Win/Win
No Deal.