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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey was written in 1989. The purpose of this book is that there are seven habits that can be taught to improve someone's interpersonal and personal effectiveness. Also utilizing the principles and values as well as applying them to all aspects in someone's life. Mr. Covey begins the book by explaining his rationale for writing the book and he expounds on his believes about the importance of applying our fundamental principles as opposed to trying to get by with superficial tactics. Habits 1, 2, and 3 speaks about the private victory with habit 4, 5, and 6 expressing the public victories whereas, habit 7 concentrates on the qualities of Renewal.

Summary

Habit 1:  Be proactive - The proactive person acts rather than waiting to be acted upon. We as human have the ability to essentially control our minds and choose our thoughts. When we take action we create things to materialize.  Mr. Covey also discussed how there are two types obstacles we face in our life. The first type obstacle is problems that you can do something about, which would all for you to reduce or eliminate that issue and then there are the problems that we have no control over them. When faced with these two challenges the book instructs that we should focus our time on the problems that we have control over and reevaluate the events that we have no control.  This would allow us to live a more effective life verse wasting time over concentrating on things we have no control.

Habit 2:  Begin with the end in mind - This habit expresses the meaning of having a clear understanding of your destination or end result.  It's said if you visualize the wrong things you will do the wrong things. Knowing where you're going, so you can better recognize where you are now and focus on what's the right course of action going forward.  To sum it up would be having a personal mission statement, which provides the basic road map of our lives.  Mr. Covey mentions that writing or reviewing a mission statement changes you because it forces you to think through your priorities deeply, carefully and to align your behavior with your beliefs.

Habit 3:  Putting First Things First - This section deals with the management of time.  Something the society in this day and time has very little.  We need to be able to look into the future and set priorities then be able to look at the present and know the one thing that we could do on a consistent basis that will make a positive transformation in our life. When setting priorities you must include leadership, whereas leadership decides what the first step is and the next step is you would have to take into consideration that management puts the items that were identified in step one into action. This allow you to be independent, Mr. Covey explains that independent will is the power to do something when you don't want to do it, to be a function of your values rather than a function of impulse.

Habit 4: Think Win/Win - Habit 4 begins with the first habit of the public victory portion. This step involves one of the six paradigms which include Lose/Win, Win/Lose, Lose/Lose, Win/Win, Win and or No Deal.  The philosophy of win/win demonstrates the act of human interaction and how we can allows ourselves to come out victorious while others win as well. This habit demonstrates us to work collectively in order to seek mutual benefits.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood - Mr. Covey describes the four basic types of communication which are reading, writing, speaking, and listening.  Not just hearing, but learning to others is the most essential element in good communication.  He explained how most people listen to the intent to reply not to understand.  You must become influential to be understood and to become influential you really have to listen.  My take away is to genuinely seek to understand and others will see your character and your heart then you will be understood.

Habit 6: Synergize ' To define synergize, it comes from the word synergy, which is the essence of principle centered leadership; the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In regard to the reading synergize is described as collectively making improvements and creating something new as well as comingling ideas to make one great notion. Even, Mr. Covey describes synergize as the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw ' I would describe this step as the line that connects the dot between all the other six habits.  This habit is making an investment in ourselves and reiterating the other habits by implementing in our live style.  Covey recommends that we need to invest some time and money (stock) in ourselves to improve our skills because this will be the finest investment we can make. Through continuing education a perfect example of 'Sharpening the Saw' inform and expand your mind on a continuous basis.

A few separate and distinct concepts that the author presented

There are so many concepts that I thought was very important while reading this book; however I will only share just a few.  It begins with the concept that people perceive the world differently, and we form our own paradigm - how we view the world with our own unique "eyes". This is an inside out approach when private victories precede public victories. We must start by examining our own character, paradigms, and motives. Then move toward a paradigm shift, change in one's perspective concerning the way we perceive things.

The guideline to personal effectiveness, which starts at dependence then moves to independence, having a relationship within our own self, our inter-circle and our own character, then lastly the one I will thrive to succeed in my life is interdependence.  Mr. Covey states, 'Dependent people need others to get what they want.  Independent people can get what they want through their own efforts and Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve their greatest success.' (57) The first three habits (Be proactive, being with the end in mind and put first things first), which require the characteristics of growth, are private victories.  These habits are between people being dependent then to moving toward independent.  This section between independence and interdependence is Public Victory, which are the more personality-oriented "public victories" of teamwork, cooperation and communication.  They consist of the next three habits (Think win/win, seek first to understand, then to be understood and synergize).  Having an interdependent mindset, skills and tools are vital, so lastly, the finally level creating an upward spiral of growth is interdependence, at this point you will have achieved 'personal effectiveness'.

Another concept the author presented is that effectiveness lies in balancing our Production (P) with building Production Capacity (PC). P stands for production of desired results. PC stands for production capability, the ability or asset that produces the golden egg. The Seven Habits are based on the "P/PC Balance" principle: P/PC stands for Production/Production Capability. If you don't take care of yourself (=Production Capability) you lose the ability to produce pleasurable results (=Production).  Mr. Covey mentioned in the reading that without taking care of your production capability, production will suffer.  Meaning you should also concentrate on the less urgent task (P/C) to make the person exceptional (P). Also, focus on Long-term success, which requires maintaining a proper P/PC balance.

Compare and Contrast

The Greek word Paradigm was a scientific term, and is more frequently used today to represent a model, theory, perception, assumption, or frame of reference.  Mr. Covey is referencing paradigm as an effective person has learned to make the paradigm shift from outside-in to inside-out and I've compared his thought to Frank Koch in 'Proceedings' magazine.  Frank described paradigm shift as, 'Developing the strength and open-mindedness to see things in another light, to see things in a different way, can give us the ability to dramatically change the way we react to different situations, therefore changing your life in very fundamental ways.'

Dr. Peter Fuda is an international authority on business and leadership transformation.  He published an article title The 7 Principles of Personal Effectiveness.  Dr. Fuda states that there are seven principles on the path to personal effectiveness captured by the acronym A-D-D-R-E-S-S, where as Mr. Covey believes that the seven habits provide a chronological approach to the development of personal effectiveness.  Mr. Covey states, 'Dependent people need others to get what they want.  Independent people can get what they want through their own efforts and Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve their greatest success.' (57).  The acronym represents accept responsibility, define success, develop a system you trust, recruit your stakeholders, embed routines and rituals, steer meetings and interactions and lastly stay on track under pressure.

Both processes are similar by having 7 steps; however they differ by their concepts.  The first step in the seven habits is to be proactive, we cannot blame others for our short comings and we must be proactive vs. reactive.  The 7 principles first step is accept responsibility, which involves examining your assumptions and beliefs. Second step (seven habits) being with the end in mind, meaning first create a vision then put it in action, whereas (seven principles) began to make choice by determining what's important to you.  The third step (seven habits) put first things first, meaning focus on your highest priorities, whereas (seven principles) develop a system you trust meaning find a process will identify gap with in your current beliefs or practices.  Step four (seven habits) think win/win, applies the inside out method where everyone win, whereas, (seven principles) recruit your stakeholders, which allow for analyzing people above and below and place them strategically where everyone has the same game plan.  The fifth step  (seven habits) seek first to understand, then to be understood teaches you to genuinely seek to understand and others will want to understand you, whereas (seven principles) embed routines and rituals means to create an everyday habit to maximize you effectiveness.  Step six (seven habits) synergize this concept aggregates different parts/pieces together to create an additional part, whereas (seven principles) steer meetings and interactions suggest implementing controls which allows for a more effective meeting per Dr. Fuda, research states 'there are two types of meetings, ones you control and ones you can influence' and 'majority of meetings are a waste of time.' Lastly the seventh step (seven habits) sharpen the saw deals investing in self by using enforcement which take all the other habit into consideration, (seven principles) stay on track under pressure meaning don't overload your plate and learn how to say no to additional task. Also don't all upward delegation.

Dr. Fuda principles are more directed toward just a few elements with our lifestyle and Mr. Covey concentrates on all components like home, relationship, career, self-etc.' Dr. Fuda states, 'The seven A-D-D-R-E-S-S principles represent a proven pathway to increased personal effectiveness. The more of these principles you implement in your daily life, the more value you will create for your organization, and the more you will personally acquire the most precious asset of all: discretionary time.' However Mr. Covey states, 'Achieving unity with ourselves, our loved ones, our friends and working associates is the highest and most delicious fruit of the 7 Habits. Building a character of total integrity isn't easy but it's possible. It isn't a quick fix. By centering our lives on correct principles and creating a balanced focus between doing and increasing our ability to do, we become empowered in the task of creating effective, useful and peaceful lives.'

Discussion

I really enjoyed reading 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People' and learning about the principles of the seven habits. Before you can implement the habits, you will need to put into practice the term 'paradigm shift', which is a change in one's perception and/or interpretation on how we view the world or how the world operates around us. Covey describes the seven habits in a way of realistic living and thinking that is in line with his principles. He takes you on a journey through change, which influences how you perceive and take action regarding time, positive thinking, productivity, time management, as well as evolving your proactive abilities which allows for a change in mindset and act with initiative rather than reacting to situations.

Covey recommends a teacher's approach when reading his book.  He also proposes reading with the purpose of sharing your insights with others within a 48 hour time frame and I did just that.  I shared with my son and my husband.  We have started to put some of the principles in practice.  I even found myself excited when I had down time and was able to read the book.  I was fascinated when I realized that so many of his principles within the habits were mirroring my life and the people lives that are close to me.  A paradigm is a word that wasn't in my vocabulary and when I began reading and this word was repeated multiple times I wanted to learn the definition.  Mr. Covey explain the paradigm shift and how people are living their live using the 'outside in' method.

I previously broke down the levels of 'Personal Effectiveness' and as I view my past I've can reflect on the stages I've experienced in my life.  I recall myself being in the dependence phase during my teenage years; however I also recollect my mother being in this phase as an adult.  She was dependent on my father and when decided he wanted to sway away, she was a forty year old single mother not knowing how to move from dependency to find her way to independence.  At that moment I would not be trapped in a place where I need anyone to be able to live the life I want for me.  It was time to put into action the paradigm shift.  I found that being proactive, setting goals and knowing the priority of when and how I accomplish my goals were important.  As I grew and still growing into adulthood I see now that I've graduated from the 'Private Victory' stage to the quarter range of my independence.  I'm learning how to think win/win since I've become a manager and having to look at the bigger picture.  I'm proud to say I see my position and it's approximately at the fifth habit (Seek first to understand, then to be understood).  I will continue to strive to my interdependence, which I did not know existed until I read this book.

Conclusion

I believe the principles/habits I reviewed during my reading were incorporated in the context of my B.A.S. degree.  I found myself wondering why I wasn't aware some of the levels of personal effectiveness.  However I found that my Management and HR course enhanced my managerial skills, Supervision, Personal Finance, taught me how to budget my personal finances courses was very instrumental within my day to day process at my workplace.  The course that would come close to the teaching in this book is the Personal Marketing TECH 3101.  That class and the career workshops provide the tools to be proactive.  Even the etiquette workshop dinner was an eye opener when it came to dinner meetings.  I really enjoyed that class.  Overall, I truly feel that invested my time and money well when I decided to go back to school and further my education.  Clayton State has groomed to into a better person.

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