The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
Stephen R. Covey
2004, Free Press
Introduction: The 7 habits are based on the following principles
- P/PC Balance: P is production (the results of your work), PC is production capacity (your ability to produce results). If you neglect PC, you will never get P.
- Maturity continuum: People grow from dependence to independence to interdependence. Interdependence is the idea that independent people come together to cooperate and create something greater.
- The first three habits will bring growth in independence, and the second three habits will bring growth in interdependence.
Habit 1: Be proactive
- You can choose how you respond to situations around you.
- You may respond based on a script, that is, how you responded in the past, e.g. based on child hood experiences of pain. However, you can rewrite that script.
- People who aren’t proactive complain about their circle of concern. Proactive people intentionally expand their circle of influence.
- Habit 1 is personal vision. The vision is that you can proactively write a new script, no longer reacting to your past or other people.
Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind
- Write a personal mission statement that governs your day to day decisions.
- Leadership vs. management: Leadership is doing the right things (things that correspond with a goal or vision). Management is doing things efficiently. It is possible to be doing the wrong thing very efficiently. e.g. hacking your way through the jungle, but you find out you have been going the wrong direction.
- Habit 2 is personal leadership. Your mission statement ensures you are doing the right things.
- When writing your mission statement, ask: what is my life centered on.
Habit 3: Put first things first
- Urgent vs. important. Many people live their life doing the urgent things, assuming that they will do the important things. This leads to burn out, and you will miss important things that are not urgent (e.g. relationships with people, spiritual growth)
- Planning your schedule on a weekly basis will help fit in important things that aren’t urgent. Does your time management tool allow you to test agenda items against your mission statement?
- Delegation is important in managing your own schedule. Gofer delegation gives the person a lot of instructions, but doesn’t build their PC. Stewardship delegation allows them the freedom to choose how they will complete the task.
- Habit 3 is personal management. That is, effectively doing the things that, in habit 2, you determined are the right things to do.
Some personal examples
It’s easy to see the principle of P/PC Balance at work. One example is getting enough rest. When I rest, I am working on my production capability. If I am always producing and never resting, eventually I will be forced to rest. Another example is purchasing a new tool. When I bought a new laptop, it increased my production capability for working on school projects.
Personal leadership is the idea of making sure you spend your time doing the right things. You write a mission statement and choose a set of principles to live by. I wrote the role of a computer scientist when thinking about principles to live by.