Stephen Richards Covey (Salt Lake City, Utah, United States, October 24, 1932 - Idaho Falls, Idaho, United States, July 16, 2012) was a lawyer, writer, lecturer, professor and US religious known for being the author selling book: the Seven Habits of Highly effective people. Wildly popular throughout the 1990s and into the twenty-first century, Stephen Covey (1989) has changed the face of many an ambitious manager’s bedside table.
Covey claims that highly effective people have seven habits that make them very successful in life and business:
1. Be proactive
2. Begin with the end in mind
3. Put first things first
4. Think win – win
5. First understand, and then be understood.
7. Sharpen the saw.
In addition, Covey argues that highly effective managers do exactly what they feel is both right and important, and they do it consciously.
The seven habits model is a theory that tries to give an insight into why successful people are successful in both business and personal life. It is therefore highly applicable for leaders and managers.
The model provides a self-help programme, based on an inside-out approach. According to Covey, our personal paradigms affect our interactions with others, which in turn affect how others interact with us.
Improving interactions thus stars with a thorough understanding of our own paradigms and motives. To become successful, one should examine how effectively one acts and interacts.
According to Covey, one first has to break loose from being dependent on others.
People may become independent by adopting the first three habits:
Be proactive. From now on, you take responsibility for your own behavior. You do not blame circumstances, conditions, or – perhaps most importantly – your conditioning for your behavior.
You actively choose your response to any situation and any person. You must be prepared to respond in a way that makes you feel proud. If that requires extra hard work or makes you feel uncomfortable, so be it.
Begin with the end in mind. When, and whatever you undertake, you must visualize the result of future that you want to achieve. You must have a clear vision of where you want to go, or you will not go there at all. You must know exactly what you want to accomplish, or you choose not to accomplish it at all.
You live your life and make decisions according to your deeply held beliefs, principles or fundamental truths.
Put first things first. By taking full control and remaining disciplined, you can focus on the most important, but not necessarily the most urgent activities.
Covey’s list of such important activities includes buildings relationships, writing a personal mission statement, making a long-range plan, doing you workout, and preparing for that presentation, next week. Do all those things now that otherwise would be squeezed in at the last minute delayed or even dismissed.
They will help you eliminate those urgent activities that recently topped your over-loaded to-do list, but really were not as important. Now that you have reached the point of being independent, and you are using your time to pursue your must important goals in life effectively, you must increase your effectiveness with others around you.
Think win-win. You must believe in “abundance”: there is plenty for everyone.
One person’s success does not necessarily require someone else’s failure. You seek solutions to problems that allow all parties involved (including yourself) to benefit.
Understand first, before trying to be understood. By this means you can make people around you feel like winners. You might actually learn something from them in the process, now that you have finally decided to shut up and listen. In fact, you must listen with the firm intention of understanding the other person fully and deeply on an intellectual, analytical and emotional level.
Diagnose before you prescribe, says Covey.
Synergise. Finally, you need to open your mind to fresh, creative ideas. You become and agent for innovation, a trailblazer and a pathfinder. You are convinced that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. You value differences between people and try to build upon those differences. You think of creative ways to resolve conflict.
Sharpen the saw. You have now reached a stage of interdependence. You are effective and admired by family, friends and co-workers. Nevertheless, you should never allow yourself to rest on your laurels. You must constantly try to improve yourself, and retain a relentless eagerness to learn and explore.
The question is, what drives people to do the things they do, and low can they become happy doing them? Covey appeals to business managers and all other professionals who take themselves seriously, by bringing it all back to one commonly understood concept: effectiveness. What happened to that world trip you dreamed of 20 years ago? Effectiveness, and having the time to do all those important things that make us love life and others love us, is the ultimate dream of the overworked manager. Key management models Marcel Van Assen – Gerben van den Berg & P. Pietersma
We hope this summary is to your liking. We appreciate any suggestions and comments you want to do about it.
The dorbaires team