Stephen R. Covey

Stephen R. Covey

Increase your effectiveness at work and at home by practising these seven habits.

Stephen R. Covey Quotes
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There is a gap between stimulus and response

Love - the feeling - is a fruit of love, the verb

Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.

Begin with the end in mind.

If we keep doing what we're doing, we're going to keep getting what we're getting.

Live out of your imagination, not your history

Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.

Seek first to undersand and then be understood

If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster

How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and to do what really matters most

To focus on technique is like cramming your way through school. You sometimes get by, perhaps even get good grades, but if you don't pay the price day in and day out, you'll never achieve true mastery of the subjects you study or develop an educated mind.

In the last analysis, what we are communicates far more eloquently than anything we say or do.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
7 habits

Covey's claim is confident and bold. It is that he has discovered seven habits, which if learnt and practised, will make you a highly effective person, at home and at work.  In all spheres of your life you will “replace old patterns of self-defeating behaviour with … new habits of effectiveness, happiness and trust-based relationships” (p. 61). One set of habits covers everything.  Here are Covey’s seven habits:

Habit 1. Be Proactive

Take initiative and responsibility.

Habit 2. Begin with the end in mind

Develop and focus on your vision and values.

Habit 3. Put first things first

Organise and execute around the most important relationships and results  in your life.

Habit 4. Think win/win

Seek mutually beneficial, win/win agreements and solutions.

Habit 5. Seek first to understand, then be understood

Try to feel and think yourself into another person's shoes whilst they are talking. Only then try to make your own viewpoint be heard.

Habit 6. Synergise

The whole can be greater than the sum of the parts. Compromise is 2+2=3. Synergy is 2+2=5 - or more!

Habit 7. Sharpen the saw

Preserve and renew yourself - in your physical, mental, social/emotional and spiritual dimensions.

Habit 1 – Be Proactive

Your proactivity lies in choosing how to use the gap between stimulus and response

The first, most fundamental of Covey’s seven habits, without which you cannot hope to master the other six and reach the holy grail of effectiveness, is proactivity.  But the term proactivity is rather misleading. Covey’s notion of proactivity is a lot richer than in common parlance, which equates ‘proactivy’ with ‘taking the initiative’. For Covey taking the initiative is merely the beginning of proactivity. Covey relates how he discovered the essence of proactivity whilst  he was working as an academic in Hawaii (p.309). Whilst browsing through a psychology book in a college library, one paragraph leapt out at him. It contained the idea that, for human beings but no other animal, there is a gap between stimulus and response. How you use this space is the key to our growth and happiness. Whatever your ‘programming’, a normally functioning human being has the capacity to rise above it. Whatever the weather, you can carry your own weather with you. Whatever impulse you have, you can choose to ignore it and act on a carefully selected value instead.

Bookmark this page to read more on the 7 habits .....

 Read On
Stephen Covey's Home Page - includes Covey's own recommended reading list
Wiki article on Covey Wiki -good summary, mentions criticism that some think Covey too idealistic

Michael Gray's good summary of the 7 Habits

Interesting 1999 Covey  interview  by Bob Rosner

More recent 2004 interview  from USA Today

Peter Cooper's interview with Covey . Peter introduced me to Covey's work, so I have a lot to thank him for.

Read more free Personal Development articles on Tim LeBon's pages