The title of the book “The seven habits of highly effective people” speaks for itself – it dwells on effectiveness. The book is on the top of the list of business literature provided for good reason – effectiveness is a primary factor of success, particularly in business. All pieces of advice from this book are really helpful for anyone who wants to make the most of their life.
The first habit the author considers basic is proactivity – taking responsibility for one’s own life. People who control their lives do not let external conditions set directions to them; instead, they take responsibility for influencing and adjusting these conditions in their own way. Actually, proactivity means taking the initiative in changing things if they dissatisfy. It is not as easy as it seems to adopt this way of thinking because people tend to complain about problems rather than brainstorm ideas on how to solve them. In business ingenuity is a key for success.
The second piece of advice is to have a mission statement in life. It means being conscious of your short-term and long-term goals, having in mind the purpose of any action that you take. The author states that it is necessary to visualize the end result when acting, and more importantly to act according to your plan, values, and principles.
To have a plan is important for businesses. Any start-up should start with a well-designed business plan. Companies can’t function without a thorough analysis of competitors, demand for products or services provided, cultural background of a market, revenues and costs should be calculated as well.
Starting from basics companies are to determine their mission and core values so that to form their corporate culture. Corporate culture is what unites all members of a company, it is an indispensable component of a business because employees should understand and stand for a company’s mission to execute smaller tasks in a right way. Aimless existence is unlikely to be effective for both companies and individuals.
The third habit of effective people is setting priorities. Time is limited but constant, so the only way to manage time is to manage yourself. “First things first” is a good way to arrange your activities but there are some strings attached: a choice between the urgent and the important. Some urgent things may require immediate attention and have no effect on the long-term result, while results of the important can be imperceivable and be manifested much later. Thus, an effective formula of these types of actions will significantly advance achievements.
Businesses often misarrange their activities dedicating too much time and effort to short-term results. This is the wrong approach, a race for higher profits without concern about future growth. Long-term investment should be positioned higher on the list of priorities because it often pays off more.
People act similarly indulging in affordable pleasures like food, drinks, entertainment, etc. If people do not invest in their education, they lack ideas, and knowledge to get deeper long-lasting satisfaction. Without effort that long-term investment requires it is not possible to receive a high-quality lasting result immediately.
The next powerful habit is empathic listening. Empathy is not only understanding other people but the ability to look at things from their perspective. This skill implies emotional intelligence that improves interpersonal relations and fills them with insights. In business interpersonal relations is a point of great importance. Making client-provider, employer-employee relations more effective will have a positive effect on a company’s performance. Let alone significance of this skill in relations with friends, family, spouses and so on. Ability of empathic listening can save a lot of time and mental resources reducing conflicts, quarrels, worries. Being able to think like other people do will help in all aspects of life.
Stephen R. Covey advocates “win-win” approach in business and life as the most efficient in the long run. Such an approach is applicable only when people have abundance mentality – a belief that there are plenty of resources for everyone, and for one party to flourish the other shouldn’t suffer losses. Once such way of thinking is adopted, parties will make up ways to bring benefits for each other and will end up with a mutually satisfactory decision.
The following habit is synergy. It is crucial to learn to combine effort to amplify the output. Successful people do not miss opportunities of cooperation as they know people can achieve more together. For example, brainstorming has long ago proved to be an effective way of problem-solving and generating new ideas.
The last habit mentioned by the author is permanent self-development. It is not feasible to go on executing a plan designed 10 years ago without corrections and amendments. Successful people are flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances. Obviously, flexibility is not an innate quality, it is the result of critical thinking and knowledge acquired. People are to rethink their attitudes, to renew themselves in different aspects if they want to grow financially, intellectually, physically and emotionally.
I find all these habits truly helpful for both personal and business aspects of life. Probably, the most impressive habit for me is proactivity because this skill requires much effort to cultivate. I am glad to find some habits on the list that I already have, for instance, planning and writing down goals, and I can say that it works indeed, and I am on the way of mastering some other habits such as empathy and synergy. I will do my best to acquire all the rest habits mentioned and will learn to implement them in my personal and professional life.
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