Stephen R Covey published 7-Habits of Highly Effective People in 1989 introducing the concept of the Paradigm Shift – a change in mind-set.
The book is rated as in the top 25 most influential management books by Time Magazine 2011, so probably worth a look if you’re looking to self-improve some. Not only that by President Clinton read the book and invited Covey to Camp David to see if he could integrate the ideas into his presidency.
The Paradigm Shift asserts that there are multiple perspectives, two people may see the same event from different perspectives, once the reader has accepted this then the reader is ready for the 7-Habits:
The first 3-Habits are concerned with moving from dependence to independence.
Habit-1 Being Proactive – take responsibility for your actions and the consequences (both good and bad) that follow. Decision making is the primary determining factor for effectiveness in life.
Habit-2 Begin with the End in Mind – envision the ideal characteristics for each of your roles and relationships. Creating your very own mission statement is a practical way of doing this.
Habit-3 Put First things First – importance takes priority over urgency. Ask yourself, are your efforts are driving nearing to your desired goals and enrich the desired roles and relationships identified in Habit-2.
The second 3-Habits are concerned working with others, collaborating.
Habit-4 Win-Win – value and respect others, a win for each party concerned is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one party had gotten their way.
Habit-5 Understand, then be Understood – listen with an open mind, then seek out a positive way of resolving a situation.
Habit-6 Synergize – by combining the strengths of many, goals can be achieved that no single person could have achieved on their own.
The final Habit is that of continuous improvement, continuous renewal.
Habit-7 Sharpen the Saw – balance and renew your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle. It primarily emphasizes exercise for physical renewal, prayer (meditation, yoga…) and good reading for mental renewal. It also mentions service to society for spiritual renewal.
This idea is central to the 7-Habits. Essentially it proposes that there is no limit to the amount of ‘wins’ that can take place as contrasted with a limited view which suggests a zero-sum approach (a win for someone else in some way cancels a win for him/herself, these kind of people find it impossible to celebrate others success and will often seek failure for themselves provided it assures failure for others). Each party may take a different perspective on the win but nonetheless each will have a win. Individuals who reject the zero-sum mentality and accept the abundance mentality are able to celebrate the success of others without feeling in some way less as a result.
There is also a proposed Habit-8, Effectiveness of Greatness which basically is about inspiring others to achieve goals, to find their own voice. There are many examples of this; Hellen Keller, Moshe Dayan, Nelson Mandella…