Notes on :The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People:
Restoring the Character Ethic
Stephen R Covey
1. Be proactive (Principles of Personal Vision)
2. Begin with the end in mind (Personal leadership)
3. Put first things first (Personal Management)
4. Think win-win (Interpersonal Leadership)
5. Seek first to understand then to be understood (Empathic
6. Synergise (Creative Cooperation)
7. Sharpen the saw (Balanced self Renewal)
“HABITS” defined: A habit is an intersection of knowledge, skill and desire.
Knowledge is about what is to be done and why.
Skill is about how something is done.
Desire is concerned with motivation or wish to do something.
Creating a habit requires work on all these three dimensions.
EFFECTIVENESS defined: It is a function of (i) what is produced and (ii) the
producing asset and the capacity to produce. Effective achievement is optimum
production with care for the preservation of the assets responsible for production.
These assets are- physical, financial and human. This means a balanced use of
These principles apply to individuals, families and organizations.
HOW TO READ THE BOOK:
Read this book completely once to get a sense of the theme.
Go back time and again to the principles contained in each habit and work to
expand your knowledge, skill and desire.
Try to explain and share the principles you have learnt with others.
True effectiveness is a function of what is produced (P) and the capacity to
produce (PC) it: the first is necessary while the second is to be developed and
maintained. Balance both P / PC
Seven Habits practiced will CHANGE you: Self-growth.
PRIVATE VICTORY: HABIT 1: BE PROACTIVE
STIMULUS FREEDOM RESPONSE
Self-awareness enables us to stand apart and examine even the way we „see‟ ourselves-
self-paradigm, the most fundamental paradigm of effectiveness.
Do not allow yourself to be influenced by conditioning or conditions. Our behavior is a
function of our decisions based on our conscious choice, and not our conditions.
Do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditionings for your behavior; make it a
product of your own conscious choice, based on values.
The ability to subordinate an impulse to a value is the essence of a proactive person.
Taking the initiative means recognizing our responsibility to make right things to happen.
Act before you are acted upon: not facing reality would have been to accept the reality
that what is happening in our environment had to determine us.
Within our circle of concern, there are some things over which we may not have any
control and others that we can do something about. We can identify those concerns in
latter group by circumscribing them within a smaller circle of influence. Proactive people
focus their energies in the circle of influence. They work on the things they can do
The problems we face fall in one of three categories: (i) direct control-problems
involving our own behavior. (ii)indirect control- problems involving other people‟s
behavior. Or (iii) no control-problems we can do nothing about such as our past or
c. of concern
c. of influence
Working on our habit solves direct control problems. They are within our circle of
influence. These are „private victories‟ of habits 1,2 and 3.
Changing our methods of influence solves indirect control problems. These are „public
victories‟ of habits 4, 5 and 6.
No control problems involve taking the responsibility to change the line on the bottom of
our face to smile, to genuinely and peacefully accept these problems and live with them,
even though we don‟t like them.
CHANGING OUR HABIT
CHANGING OUR METHODS OF INFLUENCE
CHANGING THE WAY WE SEE OUR ‘NO CONTROL PROBLEMS’
IN CHOOSING OUR RESPONSE TO CIRCUMSTANCE,
WE POWERFULLY AFFECT OUR CIRCUMSTANCE
The proactive approach is to change from inside out: to be different, and by being
different, to effect positive change in what is out there.
I CAN BE MORE DILIGENT
Not to acknowledge a mistake , not to correct it and learn from it is a mistake of a
It is important to immediately admit and correct our mistakes so that they have no power
over our future and we are empowered again.
The power to make and keep commitments to ourselves is the essence of developing the
basic habits of effectiveness.
V R responsible for our own lives
V decide, not conditions
Values, not feelings
V make things to happen
V R ‘proactive’, OK?
POWER CENTER GUIDANCE
In order to write a personal mission statement, we must begin at the very center of our
Circle of Influence. That center is the lens through which we see the world.
Whatever is at the center of our life will provide us security, guidance, wisdom and
Security represents –Sense of Worth, Identity, emotional anchorage, self-esteem, and
basic personal strength/weakness.
Guidance means – source of direction in life, internal frame of reference that interprets
for you what is happening out there, implicit criteria that govern moment by moment
decision making and doing.
Wisdom- Perspective on life, Sense of balance, Understanding of how the various parts
and principles apply and relate to each other.
Power is the faculty or capacity to act, the strength and potency to accomplish something.
It is the vital energy to make choices and decisions.
These four factors are interdependent- security and guidance bring true wisdom, and
wisdom becomes the catalyst to release and direct power. When these four factors are
present together, harmonized and enlivened by each other, they create the great force of a
noble personality, a balanced character a beautifully integrated individual.
True effectiveness is a function of what is produced (P) and the
capacity to produce (PC) it: the first is necessary while the second is to
be developed and maintained. Balance both P / PC
Three kinds of assets: Physical, Financial and Human. Effective use of
all three means that while achieving production, the assets need to be
developed and maintained.
It is not what happens to us but our response to what happens to us
that hurts us.
To begin with the end (goal, purpose, target to be achieved) in mind
means to start with a clear understanding of your destination.
Things which matter most should not be at the mercy of things which
Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things
The Laws of Love and the Laws of Life:
When we love unconditionally, we help others to feel secure and safe,
validated and affirmed in their essential worth, identity and integrity.
As human beings we are responsible for our lives. Our behavior is a
function of our decisions and not our conditions. We can subordinate
feelings to our values.
BRAIN DOMINANCE THEORY
LEFT HEMISPHERE RIGHT HEMISPHERE
More logical / verbal More intuitive / creative
Deals with words Deals with pictures
Deals with parts and specifics Deals with whole & relations between
With analysis (break apart) With synthesis (Put together)
Sequential thinking Simultaneous & holistic thinking
Time bound Time-free
One side or the other tends to dominate in any individual; Cultivate ability to ‘cross
Between both sides. Consciously use our both sides to understand a situation or
SEVEN HABITS OF EFFECTIVE PEOPLE
RESTORING THE CHARACTER ETHIC
By STEPHEN.R. COVEY
Seven Habits Of Effective People
Begin with the end in mind
Put first things first
Seek to understand, then be understood
Sharpen the saw
Proactive model: freedom to choose; no conditioned response
Know where U R going; then go on….
Mind’s visualization, plan and achieve
Leadership is: doing the right things
Management is about doing things right
Monitor change; respond correctly: rescript!
Principle centered 4 factors give balanced personality (security,
guidance, wisdom & Power)
The lens through which U C the world
security, guidance, wisdom, power
U R self esteem, identity, sense of worth
Implicit criteria-governs decision making
U R sense of balance, perspective on life
Strength to achieve – to be effective by cultivating higher habits
Put first things first
R U an effective manager of UR self ?
Follow UR own deep values, their source.
Act to actualize UR proactive first creation.
Organize & execute around priorities
Focus on relationships & results
Know when U got to say a firm ‘NO’
DEADLINE DRIVEN PROJECTS
RECOGNIZING NEW OPPORTUNITIES
Third:Not important- urgent
Interruptions, some calls
Routine with deadline
Trivia, busy work
SIX CRITERIA FOR ORGANIZING:
1. COHERENCE, 2. BALANCE,
3. QUAD2 FOCUS, 4. A ‘PEOPLE’
DIMENSION, 5. FLEXIBILITY,
BECOMING A SELF MANAGER:
ADAPT DAILY / ORGANIZE-WEEKLY
ORGANIZE- LONG TERM
FOCUS ON RELATIONSHIPS
Delegation to Time & to people
If we delegate to time, we think efficiency
If we delegate to other people, we think effectiveness
Delegation with 1 to 1 supervision- may not be effective
Delegation to Time & to people
mutual faith- Effective
State desired results-
Six major deposits that build the emotional Bank Account:
1) Understanding the individual; 2) Attending to the
little things; 3) Keeping commitments: 4) Clarifying
expectations; 5) Showing personal integrity; 6)
Apologizing sincerely when you make a withdrawal.