“The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” is an inspirational book authored by Dr. Stephen Covey (1932-2012) that remains influential to many people. This book became very important to most individuals when it was officially published in 1990. It highlights certain principles that are very important for the well-being of every individual who is determined to succeed and be effective in life. The principles are not limited to management, workplace, or leadership; they can actually assist people to change, grow, and become effective in many aspects of human responsibilities. These concepts are the remarkable sets of inspirational standards for any individual that seeks to live a purposeful life. This paper presents critical analysis, personal thought, and summary of each habit in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr. Stephen convoy, as presented in the third section of the book.
Covey’s values and norms are full of humanity and integrity, and contrast with the authority-driven procedures which are based on ideologies that were known to characterize the leadership thinking and the management in earlier days. These methods adapt with a modern world, for example counseling, relationships, parenting, and mediation (Covey 234). He produced a substantial educational body and teaching work that remained to be his popular creation, and may be remains his greatest one.
The seven habits move people through dependence, independence, and interdependence stages. The independence stage is the paradigm under which people are born and rely upon others to take care of them. Independence stage is the paradigm under which people decide upon their own paths. Interdependence stage is the paradigm in which people cooperate with others to achieve some impossible things to be achieved independently. While most of the writings today tell people to be independent, the truth is that people are interdependent.
The first habit is ‘be proactive’. Covey advises people not to wait for things to happen since they are responsible for what happens to their life. He suggests that the unique ability that separate humans from animals is self-awareness and the capability to respond to certain stimulus in life (Covey 349). Change starts within us; highly effective people are able to make decisions that improve their life through things that they can influence in the environment.
The second habit is ‘Begin with the end in mind’. He is simply advising people to define the outcome before they create the process. It enables one to develop a personal mission that should be extended into the long-term goals which are based on the already formed personal principles. He suggests that, the effective individuals always begin any important activity with a serious plan giving consideration to all of the available alternatives.
The third habit is ‘Put first things first’. The concept educates people to prioritize what is very important, not just reacting to what appear to be an urgent. This part involves decision making process where one prioritized difference events and how she or he balances competing objectives. This concept involves spending time doing what fits the personal mission of a person, observing the balance between building capacity and production. In this case, one needs to build the key roles that he/she takes in life, and create time for each of them.
The fourth habit is ‘Think win/win’. This is the idea of the golden rule. It is also known as a mutual respect. By having the spirit of win /win, one wants others to win too. According to Covey, it is a way of seeking relationships and agreements that are mutually beneficial (Covey 341). In this way, where the ‘win/win’ deal cannot take place, ‘no deal’ is the best alternative that should take place. This concept advices managers in developing organizations to reward win/win behaviors and avoid unintentionally rewarding win/lose behaviors.
The fifth habit is ‘Seek first to understand, then to be understood’. Covey presents this concept as the most important habit of interpersonal relations. “Effective listening is not simply echoing what other the other person has said through the lens of one’s own experience. Rather it is putting oneself in the perspective of the other person” (Covey 401). The meaning of this concept is that people should not assume that their approach is the best; they should understand the problem first.
The sixth and the last habits are ‘synergize’ and ‘sharpen the saw’ respectively. Covey highlights that through trustful communication, mutual trust, and understanding, one can solve conflicts and problems with better solutions than would have been gotten through other person’s idea. On the ‘sharpen the saw’, the book advises people to take time out of production and build production capacity through personal rejuvenation of mental, physical and spiritual dimension. The balance between these dimensions should be observed to be effective individuals.
From the above discussions, the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is a book that teaches individuals that people’s characters is a collection of their habits, and those habits have powerful roles in life. Habits consist of skills knowledge, and desire. Knowledge is the aspect that allows people to know what they do, skills provide the knowledge of how to do it, while desire, the motivation to do it.
Covey, Stephen R. The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People : Restoring The Character Ethic / Stephen R. Covey. n.p.: New York : Free Press, 2003, c1989., 2003