18 december 2011

Seven habits - the private victory

I have read "The seven habits of highly effective people - powerful lessons in personal change" by Stephen R. Covey. It is a book well worth the time it takes to read it. But, if you are interested in a short intro, you could look into some of these YouTube clips. Or, of course the wikipedia article is also a good start. Or, a pretty good summary of the seven habits can be found here from whitedovebooks or here from Digestmap (see pictures). Then again, I strongly advice you to really read the book. Not only "glanzing it through" BUT really reading the book. Each page... try to digest it and make the content become an integral part of yourself.

And to start with or to end with, I strongly urge you to read my exformative summary of the first three habits - the private victory:

Habit 1 - Be proactive
Self-awareness, the ability to think about your very thought process.
Three social maps: Genetic / Psychic / Environmental determinism

Victor Frankl, had his freedom and power to choose his response:
Between stimulis and response, man has the freedom to choose.

Endowments that make us uniquely human:
Self-awareness    Imagination    Conscience    Independent will

Proactivity - we have "response-ability" for our decisions.
Proactive people are driven by values - carefully thought about, selected and internalized values.

What matters most is how we respond to what we experience in life.
Resourcefulness (R) and Initiative (I). Reactive language becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

My friend, love is a verb. So love her. Serve her. Sacrifice. Listen to hear. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her.

Proactive people focus their energy in the Circle of Influence (not in the Circle of Concern), to be more patient, be wise, be loving. Direct control, indirect control or no control. It´s important to immediately admit and correct our mistakes so that they have no power over that next moment and we are empowered again. The power to make and keep commitments to ourselves is the essence of developing the basic habits of effectiveness.

Be a light, not a judge. Be a model, not a critic. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Habit 2 - Begin with the end in mind
This is your funeral, three years from today. There are to be four speakers. The first is from your family, the second is one of your friends, the third from your work or your profession and the forth from your church or your community. What would you like each of these speakers to say about you and your life? What character would you like them to have seen in you? What difference would you like to have made in their lives?

We may be very busy, we may be very efficient, but we will also be truly effective only when we begin with the end in mind...all things are created twice. There´s a mental or first creation (the blueprint), and a physical or second creation (the construction) to all things.

Habit 2 is based on principles of personal leadership... Leadership is not management... Management is a bottom line focus: How can I best accomplish certain things? Leadership deals with the top line: What are the things I want to accomplish? "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things". Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.

Imagination and conscience, together with self-awareness empower us to write our own scripts. Because we already live with many scripts that have been handed to us, the process of writing our own script is actually more a process of "rescripting" or paradigm shifting.

...develop a personal mission statement. It focuses on what you want to be (character) and to do (contributions and achievements) and on the values or principles upon which being and doing are based... we must begin at the very center of our Circle of Influence, the lens through which we see the world... deal with our vision and our values... whatever is at the center of our life will be the source of our security, guidance, wisdom and power - four interdependent factors...when present together, they create the great force of a noble personality, a balanced character, a beautifully integrated individual.

A principle center - or Spouse, Family, Money, Work, Possessions, Pleasure, Friend, Enemy, Church, Self centeredness... Write the program! Until you accept the idea that you are responsible, that you are the programmer, you won´t really invest in writing the program.

If we use the brain dominance theory as a model, it becomes evident that the quality of our first creation is significantly impacted by our ability to use our creative right brain. The more we are able to draw upon our right brain capacity, the more fully we will be able to visualize, to synthesize, to transcend time and present circumstances, to project a holistic picture of what we want to do and to be in life.
Use visualization and affirmation - a good affirmation is personal, positive, present tense, visual and emotional... e.g using neurolinguistic programming (NLP).

Write your personal mission statement and break it down into the different role areas of your life (e.g husband, father, neighbor, manager, sports coach) and the goals that you want to accomplish in each area. Write a family mission statement describing shared vision and values. By doing this, you give expression to the its true foundation. Write an organizational mission statement, but remember - without involvement, there is no commitment.

Habit 3 - Put first things first
Habit 3 is the physical creation. It´s the exercise of independent will towards becoming principle-centered. It´s the day-in, day-out, moment-by-moment doing it, by practicing effective self-management.

Four generations of time managment: 1. Notes and checklists 2. calenders and appointment books 3. prioritization, clarifying values and daily planning 4. preserving and enhancing relationships and accomplishing results.

Quadrant II - Not urgent and Important - is the heart of effective personal management
You have to learn to say "no" to those not important activities.


Only when you have the self-awareness to examine your program - and the imagination and conscience to create a new unique, principle-centered program to which you can say "yes" - only then will you have sufficient independent will power to say "no", with a genuine smile, to the unimportant.

The quadrant II tool, will need to meet six important criteria:
  1. Coherence - harmony, unity and integrity between vision, mission, roles, plans and your desires.
  2. Balance - help you identify and focus on your different roles and maintain balance between them.
  3. Quadrant II focus - by organizing your life on a weekly basis.
  4. A "people" dimension - a  principle-centered person thinks in terms of effectiveness in dealing with people.
  5. Flexibility - your planning tool should be your servant, it has to work for you.
  6. Portability - so you can carry it with you most of the time.
Quadrant II organizing involves four key activities:
  1. Identifying roles - individual, family, work, community ...
  2. Selecting goals - think of two or three results you should accomplish in each role during the next seven days.
  3. Scheduling - find a time-slot every week where you schedule time to achieve your goals.
  4. Daily adapting - take a few minutes each morning to review your schedule.
Weekly Quadrant II organizing makes a difference - a quantum positive difference.
You think effectiveness with people and efficiency with things. A primary focus on relationships and results and a secondary focus on time.

Effectively delegating to others is perhaps the single most powerful high-leverage activity there is. There are basically two kinds of delegation: GOFER delegation (where you tell someone what to do and how to do it) and STEWARDSHIP delegation (where you focus on results instead of method) involving clear, mutual understanding and commitment in five areas:
  1. Desired results - create a mutual understanding of what needs to be accomplished, not how it should be done.
  2. Guidelines - clarify the framework within which the individual should operate.
  3. Resources - identify the human, financial, technical or organizational resources the person can use.
  4. Accountability - set up the standards of performance that will be evaluated.
  5. Consequences - specify what will happen as a result of the evaluation.
Trust is the highest form of human motivation. It brings out the very best in people.

The key to effective management of self is intrinsic -in the Quadrant II paradigm that empowers you to see through the lens of importance rather than urgency. Interestingly, every one of the Seven Habits is in Quadrant II. Every one deals with fundamentally important things that would make a tremendous positive difference in our lives.

As a bonus, a link to some well designed infographics.

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