ABOUT THIS CONTENTAn overview of one of the best-selling business books of all time.
The Seven Habits
Habits 1, 2 and 3 deal with self-mastery. They are:
- Be Proactive,
- Begin with the End in Mind, and
- Put First Things First.
They move a person from dependence to independence. They are the “private victories”, the essence of character growth. Private victories precede “public victories”. As you become truly independent, you have the foundation for effective interdependence. You have the character base from which you can effectively work on the more personality-oriented “public victories” of teamwork, cooperation, and communication in Habits 4, 5 and 6. These are:
- Think Win/Win,
- Seek First to Understand … Then to be Understood, and …
Habit 7 (Sharpen the Saw) is the habit of renewal – a regular, balanced renewal of the four basic dimensions of life (mental; physical; social/emotional, and spiritual). It circles and embodies all the other habits. It is the habit of continuous improvement that creates the upward spiral of growth that lifts you to new levels of understanding and living each of the habits as you come around to them on a progressively higher plane.
The balance of “production” and “production capability”
The Seven Habits are habits of effectiveness. Effectiveness lies in the balance of production of desired results, and the production capability to achieve those desired results; what the author describes as the principle of “P/PC Balance”. Correctly maintaining this balance is often a difficult judgment call; however, failure to do so will jeopardize either one or the other, or both of the elements in the ratio with varying degrees of personal and/or organizational disharmony. An example that comes to mind would be the running down of an organization’s human and/or physical assets (production capability) to inflate earnings per share (production) in the short term.
Covey names the Seven Habits and the P/PC Balance, the paradigms and principles that constitute part one of the book. In parts two, three, and four, he thoroughly goes into theory and practice of private victory, public victory, and renewal. He then proceeds with a matrix, Appendix A, that outlines alternative ways you may tend to perceive other areas of your life, thereby providing options for behavioral change and personal growth. Appendix B is a practical business-setting example and analysis of one of the quadrants in the time management matrix. Then follows a problem/opportunity index with questions listed under general areas of concern and referenced to specific insightful subject matter in the book.
“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least” – Goethe
“Manage from the left; lead from the right.”
“Integrity is, fundamentally, the value we place on ourselves. It’s our ability to make and keep commitments to ourselves.”
“If you are an effective manager of your self, your discipline comes from within; it is a function of your own independent will. You are a disciple, a follower, of your own deep values and their source. And you have the will, the integrity, to subordinate your feelings, your impulses, your moods to those values.”