Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People

Habit 1: Be Proactive
Being proactive is more than taking initiative. It is accepting responsibility for our own behavior (past, present and future) and making choices based on principles and values rather than on moods or circumstances. Proactive people are agents of change and choose not to be victims, to be reactive, or to blame others. They do this by developing and using four unique human gifts – self awareness, conscience, imagination and independent will – and by taking an Inside-Out Approach to creating change. They resolve to be the creative force in their own lives, which is the most fundamental decision anyone ever makes.

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

All things are created twice-first mentally, second physically. Individuals, families, teams, and organizations shape their own future by creating a mental vision and purpose for any project. They don’t just live day to day without a clear purpose in mind. They mentally identify and commit themselves to the principles, value, relationships, and purposes that matter most to them. A mission statement is the highest form of mental creation for an individual, a family, or an organization. It is the primary decision because it governs all other decisions. Creating a culture behind a shared mission, vision, and values is the essence of leadership.

Habit 3: Put First Things First
Putting first things first is the second or physical creation. It is organizing and executing around the mental creation (your purpose, vision, values, and the most important priorities). Second things do not come first. First things do not come second. Individuals and organizations focus on what matters most, urgent or not. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

Habit 4: Think Win-Win
Thinking win-win is a frame of mind and heart that seeks mutual benefit and is based on mutual respect in all interactions. It’s about thinking in term of abundance – and ever-expanding “pie”, a cornucopia of opportunity, wealth and resources – rather than scarcity and adversarial competition. It’s not thinking selfishly (win-lose) or like a martyr (lose-win). In our work and family life, members think interdependently – in terms of “we”, not “me”. Thinking win-win encourages conflict resolution and helps individuals seek mutually beneficial solutions. It’s sharing information, power, recognition, and rewards.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
When we listen with the intent to understand others, rather than with the intent to reply, we begin true communication and relationship building. When others feel understood first, they feel affirmed and valued, defenses are lowered, and opportunities to speak openly and to be understood come much more naturally and easily. Seeking to understand takes kindness; seeking to be understood takes courage. Effectiveness lies is balancing the two.

Habit 6: Synergize
Synergy is about producing a third alternative–not my way, not your way, but a third way that is better than either of us would come up with individually. It’s the fruit of mutual respect - of understanding and even celebrating one another’s differences in solving problems, seizing opportunities. Synergistic teams and families thrive on individual strengths so that the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts. Such relationships and teams renounce defensive adversarialism (1 + 1 = ½). They don’t settle on compromise (1 + 1 = 1 ½) or merely cooperation (1 + 1 = 2). They go for creative cooperation (1 + 1 = 3 or more).

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
Sharpening the saw is about constantly renewing ourselves in the four basic areas of life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual. It’s the habit that increases our capacity to live all other habits of effectiveness. For an organization, habit 7 promotes vision, renewal, continuous improvement, safeguards against burnout and entropy, and puts the organization on a new upward growth part. For a family, it increases effectiveness through regular personal and family activities such as establishing traditions that nurture the spirit of family renewal.

~ Dr. Stephen R. Covey

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