Steven Covey's The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
In the book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey, lessons for personal change are presented in a very powerful and understandable way. The Habits can be applied to our own lives, our leadership of other people, a school or any other organization that can be run more effectively. However, before an application of these Habits can be made, a basic understanding of the material presented in the book must be obtained. Comparison with other leadership styles and theories can also clarify and reinforce this understanding as well. Finally, application can be made to a particular setting, a school.
Where a person or organization falls on a continuum from immaturity to maturity or from dependence to independence to interdependence is a key to determining its effectiveness. In developing effectiveness then a movement toward interdependence (maturity) must be made. This is similar to the Immaturity-Maturity Theory proposed by Argyris (Hersey 73-76). As we move along a continuum from immaturity to maturity, we become more independent, active, self-aware and in control of our own lives. This movement requires a change in our habits and change is usually difficult. If we are to become more effective people or increase the effectiveness of the organization we are a part of we must accept the reality of, “No pain, no gain.”
In order to facilitate the change process, Covey suggests that a focus on the character ethic is important. Many people today, in contrast, focus on the personality ethic. They focus on skills and techniques and their public image in dealing with people. They do what they have to do to look good in the public eye but often are found to be insincere and selfish and consequently end up losing credibility. The character ethic provides the foundation on which skills, techniques and public image naturally flow because it is a long-term process based on integrating the principles of effective living into one’s character. Investment and conviction contribute to a person’s character. If we are to move from our present state toward a more principle-centered life there has to be a paradigm shift. A paradigm shift is a change in how we currently perceive reality by becoming more open, aware, and committed to improvement and seeing more clearly. In accomplishing this shift to become more effective, Covey presents seven habits that serve to bring about change.
Habit 1 is Be Proactive. This means that we need to accept the reality that we have the power to choose how we respond to the circumstances in our lives. We are ultimately responsible for our own lives, our actions, and our attitudes. By choosing to respond positively to events in our lives by creatively using our resources and initiative, we become proactive. If we are to truly become effective we must also come to realize that there are things we can control and things we cannot. ...