7 Habits of Highly Effective People at a Glance

Note:  The updated article is at 7 Habits of Highly Effective People at a Glance.

Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, is one of the greatest books on personal development.  Why? Because it provides a firm foundation for personal effectiveness.   Even better, it provides habits and skills you can build to realize your full potential.

Here are the 7 habits of highly effective people, according to Stephen Covey:

  1. Be proactive
  2. Begin with the end in mind
  3. Put first things first
  4. Think win/win
  5. Seek to Understand, Then to be Understood
  6. Synergize
  7. Sharpen the saw

I’ve provided a summary of each of the habits in my post, Adopt the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  Here, I simply wanted to provide the habits at glance, as a reminder of some of the most useful habits that can help you throughout life.

Interestingly, the habits serve me well at Microsoft.  I’ve always been a self-starter, which is critical for the Program Manager role.  Similarly, whenever I set out to do significant work or put any time into significant things, I begin with the end in mind.  A big part of project success, product success, or personal success comes down to putting first things first.  I very naturally go for the win/win because it’s the key to influence without authority.  I learned long ago that you have to first seek to understand, then to be understood, or you’re just fighting for air time, and without rapport, there is no influence.  Synergize also comes naturally to me because I want more from the whole than the parts, and I want more out of the time I and energy I invest.   As a life-long learner, sharpening the saw is how I continuously re-invent myself and stay relevant as the game changes under my feet.

Of course, it’s one thing to “know” the habits, it’s another thing to do habits.   Here are some tips on how to change habits and making them stick.  If you want to get hard-core about habit change, here’s how to use Agile Results to change a habit.