We all want to succeed. And one step to success is identifying the habits that can help us on our journey. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a book that opens with an explanation of how many individuals who have achieved a high degree of outward success still find themselves struggling with an inner need for developing personal effectiveness and growing healthy relationships with other people. And the author, Covey, believes the way we see the world is entirely based on our own perceptions. In order to change a given situation, we must change ourselves, and in order to change ourselves, we must be able to change our perceptions. We understand that you may not have the time to read this awesome book, so let us summarise the 7 habits into bite sized content for you to absorb!
1. Be Proactive
Being proactive is probably the most fundamental habit of an effective person. Apart from taking initiative, it also means taking responsibility for yourself. Simply put, as an proactive person, you should not blame your behaviour on external factors such as circumstances, but own it as part of a conscious choice based on your values. While external factors have the ability to cause pain, your character doesn’t need to be damaged. Instead, how you respond to these experiences is what matters most. Proactivity in your daily life can be clearly seen in your ability and dedication to stick to the commitments you make to yourself and others. Therefore, take baby steps to set small goals and stick to them! You’ll realise your increased ability to be more accountable for your life.
2. Begin with the End in Mind
Beginning with the end in mind means being clear about who you want to be, where you want to go and how you are going to get there. Covey says that if you are not clear about the mental creation of where you want to be, you’ll be at the mercy of randomness and circumstances. Therefore, we recommend having to hone this skill with some team building activity such as Laser Tag or Bubble Soccer. These team building activities forces you to collaborate with your team, to plan forward and begin with the end in mind. Through the various strategies set out at the start, you are required to think through where you want to end up at, and how to do so!
3. Put First Things First
Habit three is all about prioritisation. To effectively manage your time you should spend most of your time on non-urgent and important tasks. This way you will reduce the occurrences of having to deal with urgent and important tasks, which heighten your stress and often result in sub-par results. Think about this in a game of Laser Tag or Archery Tag, you’d likely want to look at the layout of your play area, and spend more time planning for where you’d likely catch your opponents off-guard, or a safe space for your team to hide and rest. This way, when the game starts, you’d be less likely to panic while facing your opponents on the field, resulting in a more confident win!
4. Think Win-Win
Covey argues that thinking win/win isn’t a technique, it’s a philosophy of human interaction. It’s a frame of mind that seeks out a mutual benefit for all stakeholders. This means that any plans or solutions should be mutually beneficial, and that everyone feels satisfied with the outcome. Thus, to embody this mindset, you should look at situations as a chance for collaboration and not a competition. To adopt a win/win mindset, you must cultivate the habit of interpersonal leadership. And what better way to do so through team building activities. Cohesion provides a wide array of team building activities ranging from Laser Tag, to Bubble Soccer. The list is endless, and you are bound to have lots of fun and laughter while taking away key learning objectives such as collaboration and leadership!
5. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Before we can offer advice, suggest solutions, or effectively interact with another person in any way, we must seek to deeply understand them and their perspective through empathic listening. The ability to communicate clearly is essential for your overall effectiveness, as it’s the most important skill you can train. Empathic listening, therefore, allows you to get a clearer picture of reality. When you begin to listen to people with the intent of understanding them, you’ll be astounded at how quickly they will open up. Once you think you’ve understood the situation, the next step is to make yourself understood. This requires courage. By using what you’ve learned from empathic listening, you can communicate your ideas in accordance with your listener’s paradigms and concerns. This increases the credibility of your ideas, as you will be speaking in the same language as your audience.
“A Team is STRONGER than an Individual”
By understanding and valuing the differences in another person’s perspective, we have the opportunity to create synergy, which allows us to uncover new possibilities through openness and creativity. The combination of all the other habits prepares us for Habit 6, which is the habit of synergy or “When one plus one equals three or more and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Synergy allows us to create new alternatives and open new possibilities. It allows us as a group to collectively agree to ditch the old scripts and write new ones.
7. Sharpen the Saw
No one habit in the world will take you far unless you preserve, take care and keep improving on yourself. Therefore, it is crucial for you to commit some time for each one dimension – Physical, Social/Emotional, Mental and Spiritual. Invest time on things that really matters to you and will lead to to where you want to be in 5, 10 or even 30 years down the road. Don’t allow circumstances to sidetrack you. Do you really like what you’re doing? Is what you’re doing taking you where you want to be?
If not, change.