Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

21 December 2021

The classic Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – here’s a quick review to set up your new year in 2022.

The first three habits are focused on Self Mastery – working on yourself.

Habit 1: Be proactive.

Take responsibility for your reaction to your own experience, respond positively and improve the situation.

Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind.

Know what you want in the future and plan for it. Do not just act, think first.

Habit 3: Put first things first.

Covey talks about what is important versus what is urgent. This quadrant is quite powerful when deciding how to plan your day or week ahead.  This quadrant is derived from The Eisenhower Matrix which is summarised well here.

  • Quadrant I - Urgent and important (Do) – important deadlines and crises
  • Quadrant 2 - Not urgent but important (Plan) – strategic planning, professional development, networking and exercise
  • Quadrant 3 - Urgent but not important (Delegate) – distraction or busy work with deadlines
  • Quadrant 4 - Not urgent and not important (Eliminate) – frivolous distractions like social media and video games

Your focus should be on Quadrant’s 1 and 2.

The next three habits are focused on Interdependence – working with others.

Habit 4: Think win–win.

Always seek a mutually beneficial solution – or win-win – in your relationships. This shows the other person that you value and respect them – and is ultimately better for long term relatinships.

Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

By using empathetic listening to genuinely understand a person, you can encourage them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to be influenced. This creates an atmosphere of caring, and positive problem-solving.

Habit 6: Synergise.

Work with people to combine their strengths of people through positive teamwork. The allows you to achieve goals that no one could have done alone.

The final habit is about continually striving for improvement in your personal and professional life.

Habit 7: Sharpen the saw.

Covey says that one should balance and renew one's resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle.
By continually working on the 7 Habits, Covey encourages an individual to continually grow and increase their capacity to lead and contribute across all areas of their lives.

One other important takeaway from Covey’s books is the concept of ‘abundance mentality’ or ‘abundance mindset’. Covey coined this phrase to encourage a way of thinking in which a person believes there are enough resources and successes to share with others. The book is well worth a read, even just to explore this important concept further.