Analysis and Examination of “7 Habit of Highly Effective People” In Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” seven different habits for improving one’s self in and out of the workplace are discussed.
Not only do they build a foundation for a future leader, they put together guidelines for a person to follow in order to achieve much more outside of the office in everyday life as well. If one can follow all 7 habits, the amount of stress throughout the day will greatly decrease and improve the values and ethics for building and reaching one’s goals.Humans and animals relate in many different aspects; however, humans are capable of self-awareness and the ability to choose our response to any situation. Animals, on the other hand, respond to certain situations the same way every time.
Almost like a computer, they have a programmed response (66). There are two different ways a human can respond to a situation, reactive and proactive. If the weather is bad and we are unhappy or if someone treats us well and we feel well, we are showing reactive traits. Proactive, on the other hand, is the opposite of course.It is not letting the environment or someone else change our plans; things happen for a reason.
Not only can proactivity keep structure and organization within the plan, it also keeps the plan from falling through and getting things done no matter what happens. Covey shows that change happens through individuals. Effective people make the choice to improve their lives through the things that they can influence rather than by simply reacting to outer forces. “Act or be acted upon” (76) Covey states in his book.Being a proactive influence relates, in a way, to any sport out there. If you don’t make the first move, you have to react to the other person’s choice, which could lead to a point for the other team. However, if you make the first move, or act, you are making the other person react to your decision and there is a better chance of a positive outcome.
Having a set goal before any project will highly effect the way you handle your choices. For example, when I study for classes I read the chapter summary before I even look at the first word of the chapter.This helps me have framework for the chapter ahead of me. This is the same in reaching your goals. In order to have a better chance of a positive outcome you must first know what you’re dealing with. No one would hire a construction crew to build something before they even had the blueprints. That causes organization problems and can lead you to failure.
However, Covey introduces that a mission statement can help immensely. Not only should you merely create a mission statement, but stick with it and make sure it is followed through.For example, if you were a CEO of a major corporation and your long-term goal was to increase production by 40%, you could/should have a meeting to simply come up with a mission statement on how the company, as a whole, should plan to meet that goal; conversely, do not go into the meeting believing your ideas are the only ones that are right. Listen to others opinions as well. This will come back up in Habit 5. Habit three is the embodiment of applying what you have taught yourself in the first two habits.
Now that there is self-awareness, and the ability to imagine what there is to do, it is time to move forward and bring those things to completion. . One must first find and become aware of their own proactivity. In order to be principle centered, one must be aware of, and understand how to shift one’s paradigms. Habit three is the exercise of independent will toward becoming principle centered. Independent will is the ability to act in accordance to the decisions that one makes. It is the ability to be able to make and act upon your own choices, rather than being acted upon.Empowerment comes when we are able to use our independent will in the day to day decisions in our lives.
The measurement of this in our lives is called integrity. Integrity, by definition, is the firm adherence to a code of moral or artistic values. It is the value that we hold for ourselves, self-honor, and the quintessence of proactive growth. Effective management is putting “first things first”. There is a big difference between management and leadership. While leadership decides what the first things are, management puts them first.
Being able to do this takes discipline.To be an effective manager of self, the ability to put this discipline into action, to keep those first things first, no matter what your feelings, impulses or moods, is detrimental. This is where your independent will comes into play. There are four generations of time management.
Time management has evolved in; As Alvin Toffler calls them, “waves” of development. Each wave builds on the last adding new dimensions. The first generation involves list and note making. It helps to show some acknowledgment of the numerous demands that have to be faced.The checklists help in getting things done, but have no set time limit, which allows the list writer to have some free time between tasks. The second generation entails the use of calendars and appointment books. It takes the skill of list making and adds a component of looking ahead.
The third generation, which reflects the current trend in time management, adds prioritizing, illumination of ideals, and evaluating the worth of activities based on those ideals. Also, this third generation put the focus on setting goals, making plans to achieve those goals, and deciding which actions are of the most significance.Although this is an efficient way to outline how you want to carry out your goals, it leaves no room for being human, building relationships, or enjoying the spontaneity of life. Because of the strict control of time, a lot of people have abandoned this generation of time management, and reverted back to the first and second generations. There is now, an emerging fourth generation which places the emphasis on managing ourselves rather than time. The realization that “time management” is really a misnomer.This generation focuses on conserving and improving relationships rather than focusing on things and time. Thinking win/win is one of the most beneficial thought processes that anyone can do.
Within all of us there is some part that always wants others to be happy, as well as ourselves. In most cases, people communicate, interact, and bond closer with people when both parties are happy. However, in some instances, it is better to not make a deal at all instead of one of the parties losing. Covey says that “it is not your way or my way; it’s a better way, a higher way.
(207). Once again, this will come back in further habits; don’t be so quick to judge that your way is the only way. Be open-minded and accepting. Also, when having a win/win attitude going into something, make sure and stick to it or you’ll end up leaving with a lose/win situation. Communicate, discuss, give, and take, etc. until both parties get what they want.
These tie back into Habit 1 to be in control of your actions instead of the environment or others. There are some situations that cannot be predicted such as emergencies or out-of-the-blue circumstances.Then, there are other logical options that are not win/win.
Covey uses an example in the book that says if someone’s child and others were in danger, although it would be important to save the lives of others, the child, of course, would be the more important choice to that individual (211). Stephen Covey presents this habit as the most important principle of interpersonal relations. Listening to the other person and their opinions on certain subjects requires the changing of positions from your own shoes into the others.Letting the information flow through one ear and out the other is a negative trait and does not help build upon objectives. Most everyone is too quick to judge things and do not take the time to listen and try and fully understand the problem at hand.
Instead we quickly give advice, believing that our way is the best way; that our life’s experiences are exactly like others who are going through a similar situation. Many of us listen to things with the intent to reply, not the intent to understand.We sometimes pretend to listen to the other person only waiting for them to finish so we can reply and relate their situation back to our lives and how our situation happened. In order for communication to be built upon both parties must use what is referred to as “emphatic listening”. This is seeking to fully understand the other person without the intent to reply and relate their situation to yours. Put yourself into others shoes in order to fully understand the situation before you try and explain your side. Synergy defined is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts (262).
Covey uses an example in the book explaining that if two plants were planted close together, their roots would grow together, there by improving the soil, and make the plants grow bigger and stronger than they would if they were separate (263). Synergy can make or break a company. If a teacher gave a classroom an assignment and each individual had to work on it by themselves, the scores are less likely to be as high as if the students were able to work as a group. The students would communicate and build upon each other’s opinions, as a result, by having feedback to and from each individual; the scores would almost certainly be higher.This works the same way when dealing with circumstances at the work place.
If everyone can brainstorm and accept or deny different ideas together, one, the employees are more likely to be happy with the end result and two, the company has a better chance of reaching their goal if everyone is pleased. Synergy is a melting pot for all the previous habits, in order to synergize there must be communication, positive/proactive ideas, goals wanting to be reached; all of these things are only a small portion of what synergy requires in order to function correctly.If you had a big pile of lumber, you could not build a house without the proper tools. You would need a hammer and nails and possibly glue. When it comes to us as individuals it is quite similar. Professional athletes don’t make those teams because they’re the only ones that want to be there, there are certain skills that they have met in order to be a part of the team.
This also applies to the work place. The CEO would not give you an assignment he knew you could not accomplish unless you had the right skills for the job.A brain surgeon does not have the skills to construct a skyscraper and vice versa. Sharpening the saw refers to the skills needed in order to get the job done. Covey uses an example explaining a man who had been sawing at a tree for hours and was exhausted; however, he had been unsuccessful in cutting down the tree (287). If he had taken the time away from cutting the tree to sharpen his saw, the job would have been much easier and quicker.
We as people need to appreciate the time we have to build upon our skills rather than trying to rush through things we might not know how to do or fully understand.These 7 habits, when used correctly, can tremendously change a person’s outlook, viewpoint, and attitude when it comes to having a successful relationship with other employees and dealing with everyday problems. They will make a better listener, speaker, leader, and friend. Although it will take time to fully embrace all 7 habits, when finally grasped, the changes that can be made in someone’s life will standout without a doubt.
Not only will the habits help create a better person in the workplace; they will also create stepping stones for others who follow.