Stephen Covey – The 7 habits of highly effective people

Complaining and blaming others. It is always ‘the boss’ or ‘the irritating colleague’. But not according to management guru Stephen Covey. Get rid of the blame culture!
Read ‘The 7 habits of highly effective people’on leadership.

Characteristic for Stephen Covey is he begins his theory with a look at paradigms. In his view, change begins with taking a close look at your frame of reference, the way that you look at the world. Your basic beliefs determine how you stand in the world, and should therefore be your starting point for working on change and effectiveness. The paradigms form the foundations under the 7 habits that determine success.

Private victory

The first three habits fall under the category: ‘private victory’.

  1. Be proactive

The essence of this habit is: take the rudder in your own hands. Get rid of victimhood. YOU choose your own behaviour, and you are responsible for this. You cannot always determine the circumstances, but you can always determine your reaction to those circumstances.

  1. Begin with the end in mind

This habit is all about the question: what is really important to you now? We tend to fill our lives to a large extent with practical matters, whereby we hardly get to the things that really count. That is the reason for the assignment: begin with the end in mind. Literally: imagine that you are on your deathbed and determine what is important and what you want to leave behind. In this way your life goal becomes crystal clear.

  1. Put first things first

A lot of time is spent on unimportant, non-urgent matters, such that the really important things get left. The habit builds on the previous one: if you know what you want to achieve, make sure that you organise your life in such a way that those things are top of your agenda. Step for step.

Public victory

The next three habits fit under the heading ‘public victory’.

  1. Think in terms of win/win

You best achieve your goal if you also take the other’s interests into account. Good long-term relationships exist by the grace of mutual benefit. Strive, therefore, for win-win situations.

  1. Seek first to understand, then to be understood

This is the secret of effective communication: suspend your judgement and don’t give in to your tendency to offer your own opinion quickly or to only half listen. Attention, unprejudiced listening is the first step on the road to true understanding.

  1. Synergise

People working creatively together and giving the best of themselves in an atmosphere of trust and recognition, creates synergy. Synergy is always added value. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Renewal and maintenance

The last habit is all about maintaining the first 6:

  1. Keep the saw sharp

And if you have now mastered the first 6 principles, how do you ensure that you do not forget them and that you continue to apply them? By continuing to maintain and renew your most important instrument: yourself.