To: Dr. Dan Ball
From: Jordan Dyer
Date: June 6, 2012
Subject: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People Summary
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective people by Steven Covey is a motivational book, which inspires people to take a different prospective on life. Throughout the book Covey uses personal experiences to relate to what people go through daily. Covey has outlined seven steps or habits to define what makes a person highly effective. Each step deals with dependence, independence, and interdependence which Covey believes to be the key in becoming highly effective. The first three steps entail how to shift from being dependent to independent. The final four steps focus on reinventing yourself.
Habit 1: Be Proactive
Being proactive is the first habit that Covey discusses. Proactive people take the initiative; Covey goes on to say, “Our basic nature is to act, and not be acted upon” (Covey 42). Taking the initiative does not mean being pushy, or aggressive; it just means recognizing our responsibility to make things happen. Also presented in habit one is an exercise that makes us listen to our language, for example reactive language “there is nothing I can do” (Covey) but a proactive person’s language states, “let’s look at our alternatives” (Covey 53). Being proactive will also mean be positive.
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Beginning with the end in mind refers to goals that we must set out for ourselves in order to be effective. Covey goes in depth about two creations in this section leadership and management. Covey refers to leadership as being the “top line” and deciding what it is a person wants to achieve. Management referrers to the “bottom line” how a person best can achieve certain things, Covey states, “in order for those ideas to work that a person must first have a personal mission statement based on your personal values and principles”(Covey 68).
Habit 3: Put First Things First
Putting the most important thing first is the idea in habit 3. In habit 3 we are dealing with many of the questions addressed in the field of life and time management. Covey has broken this section down into four generations of time management. First generation is notes and checklist, second calendars and appointment books, third prioritization, and the fourth are preserving our relationships. These four are further broken into quadrants, as well as identifying roles. “We accomplish all that we do through delegation either to time or to other people. If we delegate to time, we think efficiency. If we delegate to other people, we think effectiveness” (Covey).
Habit 4: Think Win/Win
Think win/win in habit 4 crosses the line from dependence into independence. “Win/win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions” (Covey). Covey challenges our way of f thinking by making perceive things as win/win rather than win/lose or lose/lose, there is a fourth idea which is win/win or no deal. This simply means if the two sides cannot come to an agreement that will benefit both sides then they will disagree agreeably. Covey believes that this idea will help strengthen relationships at home and in business.
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand
Communication is the key component in this section of Covey’s book. The fifth habit focuses on four types of communication reading, writing, speaking, and listening. “Communication is the most important skill in life” (Covey). Empathic listening is one of the sectioned off topics of this section, we typically seek first to be understood instead of first seek to understand. People project their own experiences onto another and never completely understand what it was the other person was trying to tell them. After you fully understand the situation then the next step is to be understood, this will ensure your communication skills will become stronger and come out with a win/win situation.
Habit 6: Synergize
To be able to express your mind, heart, and expressions to new possibilities, alternatives, and options you are communicating synergistically. According to The Seven Habits of Effective People this form of communication is the greatest powers within an individual. And it takes all the habits that were covered prior to this habit to create the miracle of synergy (260). Covey pointed out how he used a type of business synergy to create a corporate mission statement. “… as we began to talk about various alternatives, possibilities… people became very open… and started to think aloud.” Not all synergy can be positive. Negative synergy can come about when people try to solve problems or make decisions in an interdependent reality. Negative synergy plays a role in the win/win technique. The individual may talk win/win, but they don’t really want to listen; they want to manipulate (274).
Habit 7: Sharpen The Saw
This habit makes all the other habits possible. This habit plays a role in an individual’s physical, social, mental, and social/emotional well being (288).” Sharpening ones saw is when an individual expresses all four motivations. By doing so, one must do this regularly, consistently in wise and balanced ways (289).” To be able to make this function, the individual has to be proactive. With theories such as the upward spiral, an individual can make the most out of sharpening their own saw. Covey states that to keep progressing, we must learn, commit, and do-learn, and do it again.
The Seven Habits in Relation to Students Success
As a student Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People gave me a slightly different prospective in life. Students learning to develop leadership as young adults are key for growing and learning. Habit one stated to be proactive, which is relevant to all students of all ages. In combination with being proactive putting first thing first, habit four is the best academic success motivator that I can think of. Instead of putting parties first, students should put academics first and success will follow.
The Seven Habits in Relation to Personal Success
To think win/win habit five, will excel my personal success, and how reactive language puts holds on our life instead of thinking proactive (Habit One), which will make a more positive impact on our life which in return will bring us personal success.
The most helpful tool that I took from Covey’s book the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People was the fifth habit. I seek first to understand, then to be understood. With me being a Mass Communications Major, I can immediately implement the concepts in that chapter. Communication is the most important part of life, whether it is personal or business. Without effective communication it will be harder to succeed.
What I took for Covey’s book was how to become independent as well as my perception on my society and how it has played a huge role in my life without me noticing. The most meaningful thing I took from reading habit two (begin with the end in mind without knowing what goal you want to accomplish then how will you ever accomplish it).