THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE 8
The7 Habits of Highly Effective People
The7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Thedetermination of the exact habits that make a person effective andsuccessful is a challenging activity. This is because the mosteffective people in the world have different character formations andpersonalities. However, there are common habits that are identifiablewith the highly effective people. This is the main focus of the bookThe7 Habits of Highly Effective People,by Stephen Covey. Covey further explores the abilities that alleffective people have in the world, and how other people can emulatethem. By analyzing this Covey’s book, the discussion willillustrate the concepts brought about by the book and how theydevelop the main arguments.
Part1: Summary of the Book
Thebook presents the habits of the highly effective people in a mannerthat seeks to influence the reader to not only change his perspectivebut also his paradigm. The biggest chunk of changing the paradigm ischanging the concept of success and understanding it from a differentperspective. Covey prepares the reader to embrace the habitsdiscussed in the book by defining and comprehensively explaining theconcept of paradigm shift. According to Covey (2013), paradigm shiftof the ability of changing a person’s perspective in line with thebest view of life (22). To further prepare the reader for the sevenhabits, Covey explains the importance of embracing the principles ofparadigm shift. He explains that people can be different, yet theyhave the same perspectives about life.
Havingprepared the reader to embrace new perspective, Covey explores theseven habits that he recommends to be the key habits employed by thesuccessful people. He dedicates each of the chapters to discuss onehabit that leads to success, and that successful people do. While heseparates them, he creates clear perspectives of the seven habitsinto three categories independence, dependence and continuousimprovement. The first three habits involve the aspect of creatingindependence. The second two habits are aimed at helping a person beinterdependent with other people. The third category is continuousimprovement, which is covered by the seventh habit.
Thefirst habit is being proactive. According to Covey (2013), the mosteffective people are ready to do and adopt a can-do attitude in theirlife (103). The second habit is the beginning with the end in mind.According to Covey (2013), a successful person begins by envisioningthe future goal in the resent, and plans with the end results in themind (102). The third habit is putting first things first. Accordingto Covey (2013), a successful person manages his own self through theconcept of prioritization (154). By prioritizing things according totheir importance, a person is able to use habit one to implement theideas envisioned in habit two (Covey, 2013). These first three habitscreate the concept of independence to a successful person.
Interdependenceis created by the fourth, fifth and sixth habits. The fourth habit isto think win-win. According to Covey (2013), a successful personshould embrace mutuality as a principle by employing genuine feelingwhen thinking about mutual benefits. The principles guiding this ideaare integrity, maturity and abundant mentality. The fifth habit is tounderstand before being understood. According to Covey (2013), asuccessful person should seek to understand first before beingunderstood. The sixth habit that Covey explores as important is thehabit of synergy. According to Covey (2013), a successful personshould seek to combine the abilities of others to common achievegoals that individuals cannot achieve alone (247). The seventh habitis sharpening the saw. This habit covers the continuous improvementof a person by recommending re-energizing personal health, renewingresources, new ideas and improving personal health.
Conceptsof independence and Interdependence
Independenceand Interdependence are the two main concepts that Covey explores inthe book, and carries the biggest chunk of the book. The concept ofindependence is dear to the author because he wants the reader todiscover himself, recognize his potential and set goals. To explorethis concept, Covey (2013) recommends the use of activity and beingin the readiness to act (74). Instead of being reactive, Covey (2013)argues that an independent person should act before an event befallson him, rather than acting in reaction to the events (75). The use ofvision and goal setting also plays a critical role in explaining theconcept of independence.
Covey(2013) explores the habit of setting goals and envisioning the futureas a big step towards gaining independence and creating a pathtowards success (103). This is because envisioning of a goal gives aperson the end that he will be working towards. As a result, hecreates a path for himself, which guides his decision making. Whatstands out from the explanation of the concept is that theindependence of decision making involves the future goals more thanthe current state of a person.
Aftercreating a clear understanding of the concept of independence throughthe three habits, Covey presents the second concept ofinterdependence. Through the explanation of the fourth, the fifth andthe sixth habits, Covey explores the actions that change a person’scharacter towards working with others. Covey (2013) argues thatintegrity is a key principle that should guide the concept ofinterdependence, especially when practicing the win-win habit ofthinking (216). He describes the ability to understand other peopleand standing in their shoes as the other key habit that nurtures theculture of integrity in dealing with others. Through successfulinterdependence, more results are achieved because synergy is createdas a person achieves what he could not do alone.
Part3: Exploring the Interdependence Concept
Theconcept of interdependence is more pronounced in the book, notbecause it takes three central habits, but because all other sectionsof the book point right to it. Almost the entire book explains minorconcepts and principles that all culminate into buildinginterdependence as the key aspect of personality. According to Covey(2013), interdependence is built by embracing the contribution ofothers to personal achievements (217). This is consistent with themanagement principles of division of labor and the managementfunction of organizing. Organizing involves creating an environmentfor dividing work and specialization, which promote synergy (Adair,2013 p 19). This encourages the appreciation of the contribution thatother people make towards the achievement of organizational goals.
Atthe same time, the habits that create independence tend to focus oninterdependence because they prepare a person to deal with others.According to (Adair,2013 p17), a person is only able to effectively influence otherpeople after discovering his or her own potential and purpose byenvisioning a future. In this regard, the idea of being proactive isnot only important for personal change, but also relevant insuccessful management and leadership practices. This is consistentwith the recommendations by the management and leadership principles,which require a person to act before a circumstance, and not beingreactive (Adair,2013 p63).
Inaddition, the creation of vision helps a person to change towards thefuture that he seeks to achieve, thereby attracting the attention ofothers. This does not only help the person grow his personality, butalso influences others around him. This is consistent with the goalsetting principles of leadership. This way, a leader is sold out tothe vision and creates the same influence on others. This way, aperson is able to influence the behavior towards the desired vision(Adair,2013 p55).
BothAdair (2013) and Dobson(1999) agree with Covey (2013) about personal preparation throughpersonal development in building the potential of a person to dealwith others. Managers and leaders alike must develop themselves andcreate decision making processes before influencing others (Dobson,1999 p58). In personal development, the ability to deal with peopleis considered one of the strongest aspects of leading (Rosch& Kusel, 2010 p31).Dealing with other people also builds personal character andpersonality.
However,the three authors differ in relation to the perspective of writingabout the success habits. While Adairexplores the same habits from the leadership perspective, Coveyexplores the seven habits as they relate to all people, whetherleaders or not. On the other hand, Dobsonlooks at the same concepts from the principles of management andhandling people. While they all take different perspective, theyagree on the concept of interdependence as the key principle thatdrives successful personalities.
Part4: Critique of Covey’s Book
Inthe book, Covey successfully explains the main arguments that heseeks to communicate through the use of the seven habits. In hisdescription of the habits that make people effective and successful,Covey achieves the mission by dividing them into seven. While theyare distinct seven habits, Covey classifies them into threecategories. By doing this, Covey successfully creates a simpleperspective of understanding not only the seven habits but hisintention for the book.
Inaddition, Covey successfully communicates his intention for the book.From the reading of the three categories of habits, the mainintention of Covey was to describe the habits of successful peopleand change the reader’s mind into embracing them. Covey does thisby first preparing the readers into understanding the need to embraceother perspectives of life, other than what they know by changingtheir paradigm.
Inthis book, Covey is appealing because he invokes the core aspects ofthe reader to think not only about his life but his association withthe others. In addition, the style of having seven habits classifiedinto three categories is interesting. The author’s style and mannermake the book unique in explaining the success concepts. What makesthe book a unique writing is how Covey introduces and recommends theuse of a paradigm shift for people to embrace the habits of effectivepeople.
Inthe book The7 Habits of Highly Effective People,Covey explores the seven main habits that he considers to be thepractice of the highly effective people. Covey describes the habitsinto three concepts of independence, interdependence and continuouspersonal improvement. Covey explores these habits with a view ofchallenging the readers to change their paradigm to allow themembrace the habits. These habits relate to the accepted managementand leadership principles as they are consistent with successpractices. By presenting the habits in this manner, Covey presentsthe concepts that people should embrace to attain effectiveness andpersonal change.
Adair,J.E. (2013). DevelopYour Leadership Skills.Philadelphia:KoganPage
Covey,S. (2013). 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. New York: Simonand Schuster
Dobson,J. (1998). TheArt of Management and the Aesthetic Manager : The Coming Way ofBusiness.Westport, Conn : Greenwood Publishing
Rosch,D. M., & Kusel, M. L. (2010). Bottom line: What do we mean whenwe talk about `leadership?`. AboutCampus,15(5), 29-32