A Management in a Minute Book Overview of The Seven Habits of Highly Efficient People by Stephen Covey
This summary and review of the book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, was prepared by Tabitha K. James while a Management student in the College of Business at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana.
The 7 Habits are at harmony with the natural laws of growth in providing an incremental approach to development and integration with the principle of maturity. Maturity is not, as often believed, a matter of independence but of interdependence. As an infant, one is dependent on others, and then once a person can take care of themselves, they move to an independent state. But once one is continuing to mature, a natural state becomes known. That nature is a system including society; that society requires us to interact with each other in order for a successful system.
This is the idea of synergy at its purest. One is no longer dependent, nor is one independent but can realize that the combination of effort with another creates an even more powerful force. True independence empowers us to take responsibility instead of being liberating ourselves from the situation. A person who understands consequences instead of fleeing and running into the situation again and again in a highly ineffective manner will learn from the situation and see how to improve it.
Habits 1,2, & 3 are all based around this idea of private victory; of becoming capable of independent from which point they can then move to interdependence; an improvement of self from the inside out. Once they are capable of both of those, and they constantly maintain that energy to look to improve their inner most beings they are far more effective. Because they are achieving the maximum possible out of a given situation, they are able to balance the product against the production capacity, otherwise known as P/PC without destroying either in the process for the best valued result. They are already achieving it.
First, however, they must look inward from the outside to understand what their evaluation of their being is. Not their feelings, moods or even thoughts. By having the ability to look inwardly and make a conscious effort to change they therefore become a catalyst of change. There are three schools of thoughts on how people behave and who is responsible. The genetic determinism, which says it’s their grandparent’s fault. The Psychic determinism which blames their parents, and environmental which says that it’s everything around them that determines who they are. But between the stimulus of what is, and the response is the freedom of choose. A choice is made in how to behave. This is Proactivity.
A proactive person does not blame their parents, their grandparents or even their environment for their situation. They take responsibility because they understand that it is their choices, based on their values that are responsible. When a person can take an impulsive reaction to a situation and subvert it to a value that they hold dear and cherish, they are acting proactively, but by letting their emotions, circumstances and others control them they can become reactive
A proactive person becomes self aware by analyzing their circle of concern and circle of influence. The circle of concern is one in which the things of a person’s life are involved and with which they concern themselves with. The circle of influence however, is one in which they can actually do something about, that they can change if they so desire. It is this combination that one should be concerned with. For what is the point of concern if they can’t do anything about the situation.
Proactivity is doing something about the things they can change. Reactive people however focus upon the circle of concern as a whole and are less effective for it. When nothing happens, they then blame others or the circumstance. This negativity feeds itself and it perpetuates a cycle of blame.
One either has direct control, indirect control or no control. Once it has been decided what control situation a person is in, they can be worked upon. Direct control is the priority of Habits 1, 2, & 3. Indirect is the area of 4, 5, &6. No control is the point to where a person has to learn to accept this fact and move on to other things. Anytime they think the ‘problem’ is out there, the problem is actually the thought that it’s “out there”. The idea is to be different, and then they will think differently.
Every problem and every situation has consequences, whether for good or ill. Consequences are governed by natural laws. When one choice is made, so is the consequence. Mistakes happen and are a very human result. But mistakes must be learned from in order to keep them from being a permanent consequence.