Tony DeMeo

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a modern classic and ranks up there with all the great self-help books ever written. The book was written in 1989 and has been on every bestseller list since. Stephen Covey presents a simple no nonsense approach to becoming more effective in your life. I not only have read the book several times but I make a point to listen to the audio version every summer. CHARACTER. Our country’s current economic problems can all be traced back to our failure in this key area. The quest for what’s easy has replaced the quest for what is effective. We have a need to want to solve all problems in an hour with 6 commercial breaks. Covey brings us back to the “Law of the Farm” which stresses hard work and a strong work ethic.

The following is a brief summary of this wonderful book:

Habit #1 – BE PROACTIVE
make things happen instead of waiting for things to happen. Choose your response, and take responsibility for your life. You become the choices you make.

Habit #2 – Begin with the End in Mind
Have a vision of what you want to accomplish and where you want to be.

Habit #3 First Things First
Focus on what’s important and never let the urgent crowd out the important. This was my favorite habit and an absolute MUST read for any coach. Covey uses a “time quadrant” to help you use your time more productively and put more balance into your life. I used to react to the urgent (ie the crisis of the day) and would neglect what was really important. This was one of the most important lesson I learned from this book.

Habit #4 – Think win/win
Comparable to Zig Ziglar’s idea that you can have anything you want in life if you help others get what they want. Basically it’s the art of being fair.

Habit #5 – Seek to understand before being understood.
Another problem in our society is that everyone wants to talk and no one wants to listen. My Dad used to say “You have 2 ears & 1 mouth so you should listen twice as much as you talk.” This cuts to the heart of the habit. Listen to understand not to respond. I believe the greatest way to build relationships is seek to understand before being understood.

Habit #6 – Synergy
A critical lesson for any coach is the power of synergy. Synergy is the use of creative co-operation, and working together for a common goal. This is what every coach must get his team to buy into if they are to reach their potential. I co-authored a book on this topic called To Be #1 You Must Be One based on becoming a team.

Habit # 7 – Sharpen the Saw
Every good carpenter knows the job becomes easier if you have a sharp saw. The idea here is to always keep your “saw” by continuously improving yourself. Study tape, read books, visit other schools etc.

I would also recommend two other books by Stephen R. Covey: Principle Centered Leadership and 1st Things 1st .

Covey has a way of simplifying concepts making them easy to understand and adapt. Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, apply their principles and you’ll be a more effective in your life.