The author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey, died on July 16 due to complications from a bicycle accident. Covey was surrounded by his wife Sandra Covey, children, other wives and family, as he had always wished. Covey was 79 years old, and along with the 7 Habits, he wrote leadership books and became one of the most influential figures in the United States and other countries.
There is no doubt he influenced a generation, aiming to convince us about the true meaning and purpose of leadership. I read 7 Habits in 1993. It was inspiring. More than eye-opening, this book validated what I knew deep inside.
Here is a list of the 7 Habits:
Habit 1: Be Proactive
Take initiative in life by realizing that your decisions are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in your life. Take responsibility for your choices and the consequences that follow.
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envision the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life.
Habit 3: Put First Things First
Prioritize, plan, and execute your week’s tasks based on importance rather than urgency.
Habit 4: Think Win-Win
Genuinely strive for mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. Value and respect people by understanding a “win” for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had gotten his way.
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
Use empathic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This creates an atmosphere of caring, respect, and positive problem solving.
Habit 6: Synergize
Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals no one person could have done alone. Get the best performance out of a group of people through encouraging meaningful contribution, and modeling inspirational and supportive leadership.
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
Balance and renew your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle. It primarily emphasizes on exercise for physical renewal, prayer (mediation, yoga, etc.) and good reading for mental renewal. It also mentions service to the society for spiritual renewal.
More than 25 million copies of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People were sold worldwide since its first publication in 1989. Perhaps his last book, Covey released The Leader In Me—How Schools and Parents Around the World Are Inspiring Greatness, One Child at a Time, in 2008.
Another favorite is “First Things First,” one of the best time management materials, one that, in my own experience, not only inspires the reader, but also educates and teaches them how to be strategic about time and effort, transforming ineffective actions into powerful habits.
♦ This post was written by Lupita Peimbert.