The 7 habits of highly effective people by (STEPHEN COVY'S)

I first met stephen covey in 2001, when he asked for a meeting to talk about ideas. After a warm greeting -his enveloping handshake feeling like the comfortable leather of a softball glove that you've worm a thousand times-we settled into a conversation that lasted two hours.

Stephen began by asking question,one of the most influential thinker of the day,and he wanted to learn from someone twenty-five years his junior.

As the conversation opened an opportunity for me to exercise my own curiosity, I began, "How did you come up with the ideas in the 7 habits?"

"I didn't," he responded.
"What do you mean?" I asked."you wrote the book."
"yes,I wrote the book, but the principle were known long before me." He continued, "They are more like natural laws. All did was put them together, to synthesize them for people."

That's when I began to understand why this work has had such an impact. Covey had spent more than three decades studying, practicing, teaching and refining what he ultimate distilled into these pages. He did not seek credit for the principles; he sought to teach the principle, to make them accessible.

He saw creating the 7 habits not primarily as a mean to his own success, but as an act of service.

When Bob whitman, chief executive of franklincovey, called to ask If I would consider writing a foreword for the 25th anniversary edition of the 7 habits of highly Effective people,
 I responded first by rereading the entire book; I'd read it shortly after its initial publication in 1989,and it was a gift to reengage with its message. 

I also wanted to recalibrate: what makes it an enduring classic? I see four factors that contributed to its rarefied stature:

  • Convey created a "user interface" organized into a coherent conceptual framework, made highly accessible by Covey's strong writing;

  • Covey focused on timeless principle, not on more technique or momentary fads;

  • Covey wrote primarily about building character, not about "achieving success"- and thereby helped people become not just more effective individuals, but better leaders;

  • Covey himself was a level 5 teacher, humble about his own shortcomings, Yet determined to share widely what he'd learned.
Stephen Covey was master synthesizer. I think of what he did for personal effectiveness an analogous to what the graphical user interface did for personal computer.

Prior to Apple and Microsoft, few people could harness computer to their daily live; there was no easily accessible user interface- there were no mouse pointers, friendly icons, or overlapping windows on a screen, let alone a touch screen.

But with the Macintosh and than the windows the mass of people could finally tap the power of the microchip behind the screen.

Similarly, there had been hundreds of years of accumulated wisdom about personal effectiveness, from Benjamin Franklin to Peter Drucker, but it was never assembled into one coherent, user-friendly framework.

Covey created a standard operating system-he "Windows"-for personal effectiveness, and he made it easy to use. He proved to be a very fine writer  a master of short stories and conceptual wordplay.

I will never forget the story in chapter 1 about the man on the subway who could not control his creaming kids (and the point it makes), nor will i never forget the lighthouse or the wrong jungle or the analogy of the golden eggs.

Some of his conceptual wrapping paper worked exceptionally well, being both descriptive of a concept, and at the same time prescriptive in its application. "Win/win or No Deal." "seek First to Understand then to be understood." 

"Begin with the End in mind." "Put first things first." He made the ideas even more accessible by using personal life-struggles and stories- raising children, building a marriage, dealing with friend- to teach the habits and build muscle fiber for living them.

But i think the most important aspect of the 7 habits- What makes it not just practical, but profound- is its emphasis on building character rather than "attaining success." There is no effectiveness without discipline, and there is no discipline without character.

While writing this foreword, I'm in the midst of finishing a two-year journey as the class of 1951 chair for the study of leadership at the united state Military Academy at West point.

Elon musk inspirational story.

I've come to a personal belief that a key ingredient in the west point recipe is the ideas that great leadership begins first with character- that leadership is primarily a function of who you are, for this is the foundation for everything you do.

Habit 3:  put first think first.

True discipline means channeling our best hours into first order objective, and that means being a nonconformist in the best sens.

"Everyone" might say finishing Harvard should be the most important task for a young Bill Gates.

Instead, he aligned his efforts with his mission, despite any disapproving glances from well-meaning people.

As he built Microsoft, he poured his energies into two overriding objectives: getting the best people and executing on a few big software bets; everything else was secondary.

When Gates first met Warren Buffett at a dinner, the host asked all tor in their journey through life.

As Alice Schroeder related in her book the snowball, both Gates and Buffett gave the same one-word answer. "FOCUS." 

Habit 4 :Think win/win.

Gates's relationship to the is a bit more complicated. At first glance, Gates would appear to be a win/lose character, a fierce combatant who so feared how easily a company' flanks could be turned that he wrote a "nightmare" memo laying out scenarios of how Microsoft could lose.

In the race for industry standards, there would be only a small set of big winners, and a lot of losers, and Gates had no intention of Microsoft's being anything less than one of the big winner. 

But a closer look reveals that he was masterful at assembling complementary forces into a coalition.

To achieve his big dream, Gates understood the Microsoft would need to complement its strengths with the strengths of others: Intel with its Microprocessor, and personal computer manufacturers such as IBM and DELL.

He also shared equity, so that when Microsoft won, Microsoft would people win as well.

And he displayed a remarkable ability to complement his personal strengths with the strengths of others, especially his longtime business alter ego, Steve Ballmer; Gates and Ballmer accomplished mush more by working together than they ever could alone; 1+1 larger than 2.

habit 6: Synergize.

As Gates moved to social impact with the foundation, he did not step forth saying, "I've been successful in business, so I already know how to achieve social impact.

Quite the opposite; he brought a relentless curiosity, a quest to gain understanding.

He pushed with question, trying to get a handle on the science and methods needed to solve some of the most intractable problems, ending one exchange with a friend with a comment along the lines of" I need to learn more about phosphates."

How do you build leaders?
You first build character, and that is why I see the 7 habits as not just about personal effectiveness, but about leadership development.


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