Saturday, March 6, 2010

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, First Fireside, 1990

Win/Win situations provide the keys to a meaningful life and only independent and interdependent people can accomplish these situations.

That is the gist of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.

But in reality, there is no gist to this heavy self leadership book that has become famous in the business community.

Personally, I think the book would work better as a workbook. There are 10 chapters, including one for each habit. Each chapter on a habit ends with some challenges to start forming the habits.

The book would have been stronger if each chapter began with these challenges and the chapter then explained how to meet those challenges.

For those looking for quick tips on improving their attitudes at work or situation in life, this is not the book for them. This book is about life changes. Some suggestions I found intriguing others were way too touchy feely for me; even to the point of making me laugh.

Still, there are some valuable takeaways from the book. For me, the biggest was the idea of emphatic listening.

This is the process of seeking first to understand what the person is saying. It's a lesson for me because it goes beyond reflective listening, which is regurgitation but it is not probing, which is biased by the listeners attention. It is waiting patiently and trying to rephrase what the speaker is saying in a logical, unemotional way to relate to him or her.

An example from the book:

"Boy, Dad, I've had it! School is for the birds!"
"What's the matter, Son?" (probing)

"Boy, Dad, I've had it! School is for the birds!"
"You've had it. You think school is for the birds." (reflective)

"Boy, Dad, I've had it! School is for the birds!"
"You're really frustrated about school." (emphatic)

The last one includes the logical subject, school, and the emotive feeling, frustration.

This seems really difficult, but I'm willing to learn.
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