Reading this inspiring book I have discovered that to achieve the highest level of self-discipline we need to have 7 habits. By saying habits it means these 7 behaviours pattern must form our everyday pattern of behaviour no exception.
This book has opened my eyes on some fundamental facts or habits that shall make me a successful person and achieve high personal achievement. Be more confident on taking decisions and reflect on my strength and weaknesses.
The book talks about habits that most effective have them and that made them successful.
He said that we make habits and then habits make.
We are what we repeatedly do. (Aristotle)
Ashe is talking about leadership he mentioned that leadership precedes management.
The difference between management and leadership is that management is formal authority while leadership is Moral Authority.
Overall the book was interesting and I would like to comment on the main topics covered in the book.
The Maturity Continuum is in three steps
This is personal achievement Habits 1, 2, 3
This is public achievement-Habits 4, 5, 6
In maturity continuum at dependence stage it is YOU, in independence stage it is I and in interdependence stage it is WE. These are the stages of perfection and optimization that a successful leader should achieve.
Habit1. Be Proactive
In habit 1 the author is suggesting that one shall be proactive and not reactive. He introduced 3 values in life: the experiential which comes through experiments, creative which come by our creation attitudinal which reflects our response to different situations.
By being proactive I can read the surroundings and react upon things by facing the facts but with our own power and control we can response positively.
I liked the way he talks about using our energy and power of influence in the right circle. He calls it the circle of influence and the circle of interest.
In the circle of influence we have the power to change things but in the circle of interest we may not have the power of change, by concentrating on circle of interest we are just losing our power without we can make any changes; this is not the case if we concentrate on our circle of influence.
In proactive approach we make mistakes, acknowledge and correct them. Being in our influence circle is all about proactive.
Exercise human endowments imagination and conscience
start with yourself
never promise too big and deliver too low
strong independent will is much inner power
Stop transmitting negative actions of others
Be true proactive , not reactive
Influence others by my behaviour
Make a space between Stimulant and Response so there is a gap for thinking
We have the freedom of choice so we are responsible on our actions
I take responsibility of my action and choice
I am capable of expanding my freedom and influence by proactive behaviour
Having the above traits, the process
Any reactive tendency I have , I change it to proactive
I increase my circle of influence
To become transition person so I benefit and others
Exercise human endowments mentioned up
Habit2. Begin With the End in Mind
Focussing on goals is what we always need to do. Our personality has 3 different leadership qualities
Covey quotation in his book from Peter Drucker and Warren Bennis, “management is doing things right, Leadership is doing the right things” (1).This statement was so powerful and straight to the point which tells all about leadership in very simple and profound words.
With the goal in mind we can design the start and focus on our goal and get the results we imagined. He suggests that we visualize things and focus on them so they interweave with our life experience. Things can go as we imagined because we put energy and focus on them and make things happen.
I liked the author words
mental creation precedes physical creation
Effective people shape their own future
Use whole brain (left and right)
Have a personal mission statement, do incremental changes to the goal but don’t change the core.
Personal mission statement should answer the questions:
What I am about?
What do I leave behind?
What characters I’d like to emulate?
What are the important I want?
How I can use the right brain? And so on the list goes on.
By doing this it encourages you to think deeply about your life, discover our inside thinking, expands perspective, visualise our goals desires and being the auto pilot to be on the right track.
By studying the lives of people we admire we can refine our mission statement
Read poetry and inspiring literature
Keep a list of trait s characters you like to develop
Visualise what u want to be in 10, 20, 30 yrs.
List the important things
Testing mission values
Represent the best inside me
Inspire me the right direction
Security and comfort to me approach and integrate the 4 basic human needs
For example we should reflect upon Mahatma Ghandi mission of every day:
I shall not fear any one on earth
I shall fear only god
I shall not bear ill toward any one
I shall not submit to injustice from anyone
I shall conquer untruth by truth
And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering
Create and apply daily living personal and organisational mission statement
Envision the desired results and important values to guide activities.
Anyone cannot do the right thing in one part of life while he is doing wrong things in any other parts, because life is one invisible whole (Ghandi)
Summary of this part is:
Choose a life centre
Personal mission statement
Habit3. Put First Things First
So when you want to do something, plan, design and do it.
By using calendar and notes list diaries we organise things and put priority on them .we cannot control time but we can manage our or organise ourselves to do tasks. The tasks can be classified in 3 different priorities:
and not important
We will make things bigger and bigger till it will dominate us and absorb our power by only focusing on Quadrant I”QI “in the table because it is urgent.
The most important one is QII. Effective people are more interested in QII. They do not act in III and IV which are not important and stay in I and II but give more time to II and make I smaller
Effective people do their time management by focusing on activities in QII because they are important and those activities have big impact in our life, so we must focus on them.
Effective managers focus on results and not on methods so subordinates can choose the method and by this approach best results can be achieved because the subordinate have come up with their own visions or means to do it; it is their visions and not somebody else’s.
“Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and he will become as he can and should be” (1)
We only need time management to organise ourselves to do tasks. Time management can be looked at from three different angles
-we believe that we need more timeâ€¦â€¦..but you have all the time is there
-we believe that we can save timeâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦..time is equally given to all and we have to spend it
-we believe that we can manage timeâ€¦â€¦. We can manage ourselves not time
This simple comparison show how thinking has changed
Old generation new generation
Urgent things First Things
In control Illusion In Alignment
I liked the way the author talked about building emotion bank account. It is a brilliant idea to gauge our “account statement” and see where the pluses and minuses, i.e. the deposit and withdrawal.
He said that to build emotion account we basically have six major deposits, when we do negative things we withdraw from the account and when we do positive things we deposit the account.
These deposits and withdrawal are our actions. Examples of deposits that we can make are by:
1. I see what is important for the other person and make it important to me also
2. I attend to small things that are seeing big things to the other to strengthen the relations
3. I keep promise, by not committing to fulfil; it is a big withdraw
4. I must clarify expectations. The author says this is the most damaging part of relations. Explain the role, term and goal. By clearing this upfront, it will save much of time and effort later.
5. I show personal humour and integrity. Be consistent when dealing with groups or individuals.
The author says that you must remember how you treat one is how you treat the all others because all is the sum of ones
6. I should apologize when do mistake sincerely and it will be deposit.
The most important things should come first before the less important
Improve product/product capacity balance within my circle of influence
I fulfil my mission by acting on important Goals in my key roles.
Focus on important things and NO to unimportant things.
Focus on QII activities and gradually Q1 activities will be covered or merged in QII, QIII and QIV will go away.
Habit4. Think Win-Win
Human relations based on one of these transactions:
Win-Win both mutual benefit
Win-Lose it is competition if I win you must lose and the relation is authoritarian
Lose-Win the leadership is permissive
Lose-lose when people try to make others lose even if they lose
Win-Win or No Deal
Win-Win both parties are winners or no deal and no loser. This is the beginning of relations and if no benefit then not a deal once in relation after some time the parties move to Win-Win if they have built the trust.
Four dimension of Win-Win:
Character: integrity, maturity, abundance mentality
Relationships: demonstrate honesty, loyalty
Believe in the best of others, clear expectation, accurate in time and honest in communications, treat others with respect and respond to their needs, focus on positive and use feedback for improvements.
Agreements: desire results, guidelines, resources, accountability , consequences- achieve win-win or not
Systems & Processes
Persist on looking for win-win results despite the past win-lose condition.
Effective long term relationship require mutual benefit
I seek the benefit of others as well as my own
I get better results by cooperating interdependently that by competing independently
Win-Win relations should be focused on win-win with trust.
Performance agreement will define the relation and it will be from vertical to horizontal where partnership or team work. the agreement set standards where people measure their performance:
define the results, parameters
Resources-human, financial, organisation support
Accountability the time and standards
Consequences what will happen
Reward is very important system in Win-Win. If reward is used in win-lose, the system will have negative effect. If rewarded few in the Win-Win system, others are losers .Best is to set individual goals within the overall win goals so all can get rewarded.
In competitive market win-win situation should be existed to make win-win to all participants but lack of confidence and trust is the main culprit.
Win-Win is a third alternative, it is not my not your way but it is a better way.
Habit5. First Understand, then be understood
The beauty of this part lies in the art of listening. Which is very important element in gaining the hearts of the others and I believe it is on the top list of communications skills.
We tend to prescribe things before listening deeply to the problem and diagnose what is needed.
Be a good listener is a key to success. We listen not just for listening but to deeply understand the other party frame of reference and feelings. Listen with ears eyes and heart.
Diagnose before prescribe things is not a professional approach. Understand what the customer needs is and give solutions. Amateur salesperson sells product BUT professional salesperson sales SOLUTIONS.
Listen not by mouth. Listen to give answer. Listen with ears eyes heart
In 75% of waking life, we learn reading, writing, speaking and listening.40% is listening alone.
Every hour of understanding save 10/20/50 hours of problem solving arise from not understanding.
Empathy listening is the key to the art of listening. Words we say represent 7%, nonverbal body language is 38%, the way we say words (emphasis) and sounds we make is 55% of the speech. So communication is seeing and feelings. It is mainly attitude and partly skills.
The one who listens does most of the work not the one who speaks.
Everyone is single and unique who will listen then?
It is said that walls have ears. However some ears have walls.
These words were very powerful on me and I have reflected upon them for a while. They are so true and profound and full of wisdom.
Simply it means all or total is greater than the sum of the parts or ones.
Its value comes from valuing each other competencies and differences respect them and try to complement each other hence we get the complete picture which individually cannot be completed because o these differences and weaknesses.
Cooperation builds trust and needs to interweave with each other.
By having synergy mission it will be part of every body mind and heart and not individual concern when it is made by others.
Ground rules for synergy
try to adopt win-win way of thinking and mentality
keep your heart, mind open to new alternatives and possibilities
appreciate and respect value others opinions, views, and solutions
The third alternative
Negotiate and communicate till find a solution that we all feel good about
It is not my way nor your way it sis the a better way
We both can be right but we don’t agree
I must listen and if I don’t agree I say: this is how I see it, not you are wrong
Humility-I have my own experience though a life trials and errors. Take the others experience that took them a lifetime of understanding as a gift given to you for free.
The main drive for synergetic approach is answering the question:
Would you be willing to explore a solution which might be better than what we suggest?
The principles of synergy are:
Valuing differences of others and looking for a third alternative
Doing work together takes time but produce better long term results
Human problems can be solved by using habits 4, 5, 6,
Habit7. Sharpen the Saw
The principles of balance & self-renewal
You should work in a proactive way as mentioned before in the QII quadrant to refresh the dimension of ourselves physically, mentally, spiritually and socially.
Live—-Physical, basic wealth
Leave a legacy—spiritual
These when integrated they produce “Fire Within
Four dimensions of renewal
This is concerned about physical wellbeing by good eating and having good sleep and relaxation with exercise, stress management, sleep and rest, regular medical check-ups healthy habits and lifestyle.
Is inside us and it is a self-monitoring commitment to our values and it drives us by giving inspiration and uplifting to deal with human beings
Create mission, review and refine
Watch nature and reflect
Study literature of great people
Appreciate music and art
Religious worship, yoga and meditation
Keep the mind always fresh and sharp- with all the knowledge by reading writing planning and open mind to others to get new ideas. Read and read and read he says 12 books a year. Most professions have half-life of 4 years. Solve puzzles, play mental games, continue education, listen to music, be aware of TV it can be an open sewer into your home. These are the suggestions of the author and I completely agree with him.
It is showing by our interactions with others and how we focus on them.
Keep family relations, keep old friendship and find new friends, keep good relations and repair damage, value differences and look for synergy, take holiday and celebrate, take each family member in a date, write letters to family and friends.
The four dimensions have to be refreshed and renewed together and if one is not looked after then the whole is affected.
The process of synergising
Apply Win-Win way of thinking-habit 4
Listen with empathy-habit 5
Seek synergic outcome- habit 6
Then use the synergy rules to find the third alternative
Life changes continuously, keep core intact and deal with changes. Your centre is a source of security, guidance, wisdom and power.
The real improvement is by renewal of all the four dimensions, physical, social. Set goals and work to achieve those dimensions renewal goals.
The process is achieved by constantly developing and renewing of these personal dimensions (resources) to achieve better personal (product) and balance.
Strength lies in differences, not in similarities
The key of objectivity is to accept subjectivity
I don’t see the worlds as it is, I see is as I am
The enemy of the Best is the good unknown.
7. Sharpen the Saw
Be proactive and accepts risk to take new challenge
Begin with the end in mind share team vision and mission
First things are the things that are most important, they come first
Think win-win increase group momentum and bring effective solutions to conflicts
Seek understand first so u be understood and successfully resolve problems
Synergy by engaging everybody can get better results and complement each other
Renew and refresh your four personal dimensions continuously to protect them from burn-out
Become my leader although I a m your boss
Production is golden egg, capability is goose
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