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Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was written by Stephen R. Covey in 1989. This book has been on the National Best Seller list for over 200 weeks. Many people have attended Covey's seminars on the subject. Many companies have required top executives to read this book including AT & T, Dow Chemical, Ford, Deloitte and Touche, Marriott, Xerox and Ritz Carlton Hotels.

This book proposes that there are seven habits that can be learned to improve one's personal and interpersonal effectiveness. Covey describes a habit as "the intersection of knowledge, skill and desire." Knowledge would represent the "what to do", skill the "how to do", and desire the

"want to do". In order to create a habit in our lives, we must have all three.

Habits 1, 2, and 3 relate to Private Victory with habit 4, 5, and 6 relating to Public Victories and

Habit 7 being involved with Renewal.

Habit one is to be proactive. This habit says that as human beings we are responsible for our own lives. Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions. We create our own destiny. The proactive person acts rather than waiting to be acted upon.

According to Covey, part of increasing our self-awareness is understanding our Circle of Concern, that is, our range of concern with which we have mental or emotional involvement. A Circle of Influence resides inside the Circle of Concern reflecting those things over which we have control.

Habit two is to begin with the end in mind. If we paint a visual image of what we want our life to be then we actually provide a frame of reference within which all our behaviors can be examined. We must understand where we are going. We should develop a personal mission statement. It will provide the basic direction of our lives. This statement will force us to give thought to our values and what we want to accomplish in life.

In the third habit, Covey tells us to put first things first. Independence is crucial in this habit.

Our personal integrity helps us to "walk our talk". The strength of purpose enables us to do even those things we'd rather not, placing our value's first.

This habit requires good time management. If the issue is not high priority, we must say "no" to reserve time for those items that are high priority. Through this habit effective management leads to effective delegation. The expectations of delegation can be altered by the maturity level of the person performing the task.

"Think Win/Win" is the fourth of Covey's habits. This habit requires a four step process:

1. See the problem from the other point of view.

2. Identify the key issues and concerns (not positions) involved.

3. Determine what results would constitute a fully acceptable solution.

4. Identify possible new options to achieve those results.

This frame of mind is based on cooperation rather than competition. We must have the courage to state our convictions, but to take into consideration other's convictions.

"Seek first to understand then to be understood" is the fifth habit. Covey suggests that we "diagnose before we prescribe in communication". That is we need to understand the situation before rushing in with our prescription of advise. Seeking to understand requires consideration, communication and listening skills. Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. There are five levels of listening. We may be ignoring the other person, not listening at all. We may practice pretending by just responding by nodding our head or saying "Yeah. Uh-Huh. Right." Another level is selective listening which is hearing



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