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Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Posted by on November 4, 2015

One of the first personal development training that I was put through as a firefighter was a seminar that the London Fire Brigade put all their officers through called ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey is one of the most influential books in self-development.

It is 18 years since Stephen Covey published his legendary work “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, which was a hugely impactful book, selling many millions of copies around the world. In that book, Dr. Covey showed you and I how to become as effective as we possibly could be.

So in this weeks blog, let’s recap his epic work:

Habit 1 – be proactive

This is the ability to control one’s environment, rather than have it control you, as is so often the case. Self-determination, choice, and the power to decide response to stimulus, conditions and circumstances

Habit 2 – begin with the end in mind

Covey calls this the habit of personal leadership – leading oneself that is, towards what you consider your aims. By developing the habit of concentrating on relevant activities you will build a platform to avoid distractions and become more productive and successful.

Habit 3 – put first things first

Covey calls this the habit of personal management. This is about organizing and implementing activities in line with the aims established in habit 2. Covey says that habit 2 is the first, or mental creation; habit 3 is the second, or physical creation.

Habit 4 – think win-win

Covey calls this the habit of interpersonal leadership, necessary because achievements are largely dependent on co-operative efforts with others. He says that win-win is based on the assumption that there is plenty for everyone, and that success follows a co-operative approach more naturally than the confrontation of win-or-lose.

Habit 5 – seek first to understand and then to be understood

One of the great maxims of the modern age. This is Covey’s habit of communication, and it’s extremely powerful. Covey helps to explain this in his simple analogy ‘diagnose before you prescribe‘. Simple and effective, and essential for developing and maintaining positive relationships in all aspects of life.

Habit 6 – synergize

Covey says this is the habit of creative co-operation – the principle that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, which implicitly lays down the challenge to see the good and potential in the other person’s contribution.

Habit 7 – sharpen the saw

This is the habit of self-renewal, says Covey, and it necessarily surrounds all the other habits, enabling and encouraging them to happen and grow. Covey interprets the self into four parts: the spiritual, mental, physical and the social/emotional, which all need feeding and developing.

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