The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is another book I was skeptical about, just like The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, and for the same reason: how can a person claim they know the exact number of habits that will make you effective?
Despite it’s title (maybe you don’t find it irritating, maybe it’s just me), it is not a book about quick fixes, or techniques that will make you a better leader and person in the blink of an eye. On the contrary, it is a book that focuses on character, on relationships, on values. I know! Just like these two books on leadership, and this one. They must be on to something!
The key words to describe it would be: INSIDE-OUT.
True change, true effectiveness, true leadership, true accomplishment starts from the inside-out.
Covey sums up the first 3 habits as: make promises and keep them. This is where he writes on personal development: taking responsibility for your life and actions, discovering what life principles are, discovering our values, writing up with a Mission Statement and staying true to these.
This is the single most powerful investment we can ever make in life – investment in ourselves, in the only instrument we have with which to deal with life and to contribute.
The second part (next 3 habits) is: involve others in the problem and work out the solution together. I particularly appreciated the fact that the author touches on all our relationships, not just job-related, but family most of all, those dear to us, then those we work with and those we come into contact with.
Interdependence is a higher value than independence.
I am still digesting this book, still considering ways to incorporate what I’ve read into my daily life.
One example of how The 7 Habits has influence me personally is the fact that I have reconsidered my values.
Relationships are very high on my list, for example – yet sometimes I feel bad when I give time to a person, rather than accomplishing a task. When I’ve restated the fact that investing in people is important to me, I was free to schedule time to just enjoy friendships.
As my husband and I live on the LCC International University campus, we have an open door policy. This means that students can come hangout any time, or join us for dinner or lunch. This means two things: we always have cookies ready, and we always have a full fridge.
My husband works from home, so most of our friends already know that they need to be quiet when he’s on a call, or not to disturb him when his headphones are on. I take my work home often, too, so sometimes we talk, while other times our living room looks like a study room, with students coming in to quietly read for a class, or write a paper. I have a dear friend Anna, who comes to read with me and my sister’s often around.
I got so used to this, and I got to enjoy it so much, that I feel weird when only Igor and I sit down for dinner.
When I realised that these relationships are important to me, I wanted to schedule them in. In order to have time in the afternoon, so I can hang out with students, I need to get all my most important tasks done in the morning. This also means I have to get up earlier, and that I need to go to bed earlier, too. So I have my work cut out for me: plenty of habits to adjust.
This is the last post on leadership, as part of this Leadership Week.
A post on creativity is coming tomorrow, though!