STS Business Leader Book Review

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Theodore Witherell
Director, Organization Development & Training
Partners Healthcare (Healthcare industry)

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

This book provides very pragmatic advice on how to manage yourself. (8 on a scale of 1 - 10)  Since Emotional Intelligence accounts for so much of what we define as professional success, Covey's tips on self-management are very pertinent.

The entire premise of the book is that most people deal with the problems in their life in a scattershot fashion, and this scattershot fashion leads to disillusionment and disorder. 

Covey’s answer to this is that to be a truly effective person, you need to learn to solve personal and professional problems with an integrated and principle-centered approach – in other words, the decisions you make both personally and professionally should come from the same core set of values and ideas.

The 7 habits of highly effective people are:

  1. They take initiative. 
    Be Proactive.”
  2. They focus on goals. 
    Begin with an End in Mind.”
  3. They set priorities. 
    Put First Things First.”
  4. They only win when others win. 
    Think Win/Win.”
  5. They communicate. 
    Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood.
  6. They cooperate. 
  7. They reflect on and repair the deficiencies.
    Sharpen the Saw.”

The book grew so large so quickly and Covey and his people became so cult-like, I think the franchise can get a bit of a 'cheesy' wrap these days.

But the wisdom is not Covey's; he culled it from multiple classic sources. The overall proposed model is comprehensive and well laid out; each "habit" provides pragmatic tips about its application. I read this book early in my career, along with many of my peers and it provided a common road map for us as we engaged in dialogue about how to "be" in a professional setting. It's been years. But I think it's time for me to go back and re-read it.


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Personal Development


Self-management, Personal, Change, Effective

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