Steven Covey’s interesting seven habits of highly effective people are worth exploring for anyone who wants to be just that – more effective.

So here’s an outline:

1. Be proactive

This is having the ability to be in control of one’s own environment, rather than letting environmental circumstances dictate what happens in your day. It’s about self determination, choice and having the ability to decide what response you give to environmental factors, conditions and circumstances.

2. Begin with the end in mind

This is refers to as the habit of personal leadership. That is to be able to lead oneself. By concentrating on relevant activities whilst cutting out all distractions you will be more productive and successful.

3. Put first things first

This is to do with personal management and how you manage your time. Getting organized and implementing what you have decided to work on.

4. Think win-win

This is to do with interpersonal leadership. Success happens when we are working in cooperation with others rather than the old win-or-lose way of thinking. Covey says that there is more than enough for everyone.

5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood

This is Covey’s habit of communication. He uses a simple analogy to ‘diagnose before you prescribe’. It’s simple and effective but essential for successful relationships in work and in life.

6. Synergize

This is the habit of creative co-operation. The principle is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A team will work together better when challenged if they can recognize each of their individual contributions and value.

7. Sharpen the saw

This is the habit of self renewal. Covey explains that we all exist in four realms, the physical, the emotional, the mental and the spiritual. In turn we need to feed and develop each of these areas.

These seven habits have become a leadership classic, which are referred to often in leadership and management training. Covey went on to recognize an 8th habit, which deals with personal fulfillment and helping others.

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