By: Don Cooper
It’s been over 25 years since I first read the ground breaking work of Stephen Covey and his book – “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People”.
This applies to any role and any part of life and certainly any job, especially today.
Technician, Foreman, Manager and Support teams alike can gain huge life gains if they learn and apply these habits.
Most of Innovator core values and standards have a foundational root in these 7 habits.
What Are The 7 Habits?
The Seven Habits move us through the following stages:
Dependence: The paradigm under which we are born, relying upon others to take care of us.
Independence: The paradigm under which we can make our own decisions and take care of ourselves.
Interdependence: The paradigm under which we cooperate to achieve something that cannot be achieved independently.
Much of the success literature today tends to value independence, encouraging people to become liberated and do their own thing.
The reality is that we are interdependent, and the independent model is not optimal for use in an interdependent environment that requires leaders and team players.
To make the choice to become interdependent, one first must be independent, since dependent people have not yet developed the character for interdependence.
Therefore, the first three habits focus on self-mastery, that is, achieving the private victories required to move from dependence to independence. The first three habits are:
Habit 1: Be Proactive
Stop putting yourself in react mode by thinking and seeing all the things that come next.
Anticipate the changes and needs of the project/sale and deliverable and take action long in advance so they aren’t urgent matters later or excuses (the reasons you tell yourself) for not doing what you knew needed done.
Proactive is the opposites of procrastination and will make all the difference in your success and how you are elevated in life and career.
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Plan and take action based on what the end goal is. winning a sale, a happy customer, a safe project. All actions should support the full picture of the end goal not just a variety of seemingly unrelated tasks.
Habit 3: Put First Things First
Spend time doing what fits into your mission, observing the proper balance between production and building production capacity. Identify the key roles that you take on in life, and make time for each of them.
Habits 4, 5, And 6 Then Address Interdependence
Habit 4: Think Win/Win
Seek agreements and relationships that are mutually beneficial. In cases where a “win/win” deal cannot be achieved, accept the fact that agreeing to make “no deal” may be the best alternative.
In developing an organizational culture, be sure to reward win/win behavior among employees and avoid inadvertently rewarding win/lose behavior.
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
First seek to understand the other person, and only then try to be understood. Stephen Covey presents this habit as the most important principle of interpersonal relations.
Effective listening is not simply echoing what the other person has said through the lens of one’s own experience. Rather, it is putting oneself in the perspective of the other person, listening empathically for both feeling and meaning (Win/Results).
In selling and operations success, it’s asking the customer a lot questions to understand how we can best help BEFORE we pitch a solution or quote anything. This understand mindset also creates the best “no assumptions job plans”.
Habit 6: Synergize
Through trustful communication, find ways to leverage individual differences to create a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts.
Through mutual trust and understanding, one often can solve conflicts and find a better solution than would have been obtained through either person’s own solution.
There is no team work, effective delegation and certainly no unique ability teams without Synergy.
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
Take time out from production to build production capacity through personal renewal of the physical, mental, social/emotional, and spiritual dimensions.
Maintain a balance among these dimensions. Commit to Learn and get better.Switch off and take free days, family first and look after each other. Sharpening the saw is a critical renewal process at the core of Innovator’s values.
If you have not read the “7 Habits Of Highly Effective People” or not read it in a while – it’s lessons never expire – you should read it.