7 Habits of Highly Effective People Summary: Introduction

I read this book by Steven Covey when it first came out and it has since become a management classic. I hope this 7 Habits of Highly Effective People summary convinces you to read the book.

The whole thrust of the book is that one has to move from dependence (being told what to do, overly influenced by others) to independence (stand up for yourself, be yourself etc.) to independence (work with others, teamwork etc.). True wisdom is found when one realizes the interdependent nature of life and of business.

A pdf download (no need to give your details or anything in fact) which you can use to apply these principles in a very practical and uncomplicated way is available here: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People summary pdf. This is in the form of a challenge to apply the 7 habits to your life immediately through questions and simple tasks.

Sometimes you read something and you get struck by a blinding flash of the obvious. The book contains obvious sense, but why had no-one else put it together just quite the way that Covey had? I think the reason is that it is more difficult to state simple truths in an eloquent and easily understandable way.

 

7 Habits of Highly Effective People Summary: List of Habits

Habits 1 – 3 focus on the move from dependence to independence.

  • Habit 1: Be Proactive
  • Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
  • Habit 3: Put First Things First

Habits 4 – 6 focus on the move from independence to interdependence

  • Habit 4: Think Win-Win
  • Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
  • Habit 6: Synergize

The last habit focuses on the need to continually rejuvenate yourself.

  • Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

7 Habits of Highly Effective People Summary: Discussion

I will discuss each habit briefly, and provide a perspective, rather than just repeating Steven Covey’s words.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People Summary: From dependence to independence

Habit 1: Be Proactive

Don’t wait for events to overtake you and then be dictated to. Plan well in advance and take action before you are forced to. Taking decisions in a timely fashion is important as your decisions are the most important factor that determines whether your reach your goals. This is all about taking responsibility for your decisions and their consequences.

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

This is close to goal setting, but the idea behind this concept is that you keep your destiny in focus. This could be related to the end of your life or something short terms and just around the corner. This should be the basis of any visualization your engage in.

Habit 3: Put First Things First

This is all about principles and being centered on your principles. Know what is important to you and live by these principles day by day. That is the real challenge of this habit – living day in and day out by the principles you hold dear. Consider whether your actions demonstrate your character values.

By moving from dependence to independence you gain a tremendous personal victory.

The next three have to do with Interdependence (i.e., working with others).

7 Habits of Highly Effective People Summary: from independence to interdependence

Habit 4: Think Win-Win

This habit pronounces that “it is not all about me”. We need to realize that we live in a community. That means we should strive for solutions that are mutually beneficial. This means that we need to develop benefits for everyone when we want to accomplish anything, not just for ourselves.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

We all want to be listened to and want our views to be respected, preferably acted upon. This habit recognizes the fact that others also have views and also want to be understood. Communication is a crucial skill and listening is the foundation of true communication. Empathic listening requires that we listen not merely to respond or rebut, but to allow yourself to be genuinely influenced by another person. This creates an atmosphere of trust and positive problem solving.

Habit 6: Synergize

With this habit you pull it all together. This is where the whole becomes more that the sum of the parts. Together we can achieve more. This is caused by the relationships between people, which creates the synergistic effect. Teamwork results in achieving goals we could never have achieved on our own.

These last three habits take you from your personal victory to being victorious with the help of others.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People Summary: The last habit

Habit 7: Sharpen the saw

This last habit related to rejuvenating yourself. The metaphor used is of keeping your saw sharpened. Diligently working away is not always the best, we need to take time out to rest and to rejuvenate ourselves. This can relate to energy, skills, education, and even these seven habits. Sawing with a blunt saw is never a good idea, neither is working if your energy is depleted or your knowledge outdated. Sharpen the saw!

Have a look at my post 7 habits of highly effective people pdf. There is a free download which you can use to apply these principles in a very practical and uncomplicated way.

This 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Summary is only a taste of what the book has to offer. I highly recommend that you read this book.

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