A Tribute to Stephen Covey

Stephen Covey passed away on Monday.

If you haven’t heard of him, he wrote one of the greatest leadership books of all time: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I read the book in the late 1980s. It has sold over 20 million copies and is still in print over 20 years after its original publication. For a number of years, I would give the book to folks graduating from college or high school. I recommend it highly.

In a tribute to Covey, Rachel Emma Silverman of the Wall Street Journal listed the habits the great writer prescribed for effectiveness:

Habit 1: Be Proactive. Choose your own course. Highly effective people don’t dwell on the things they can’t do and aren’t reactive to outside forces; instead they focus on what they can do and are responsible for their choices and those consequences.

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind. Determine what your end goal is, including your broader life goals, so you know what you are working toward.

Habit 3: Put First Things First. Prioritize tasks based on importance, rather than urgency, and make sure your plan drives you toward the goals you outlined in Habit 2. Once you’ve prioritized tasks, execute accordingly.

Habit 4: Think Win-Win. Aim for solutions that mutually benefit both parties in a relationship.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood. Try to really listen to other people and be open to influence – which should help them do the same for you – in order to help create a more respectful environment and better solve problems.

Habit 6: Synergize. Use teamwork to reach goals unattainable by one person working alone. To get the strongest performance out of team players, encourage meaningful contributions and end goals.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw. To be more effective over the long-haul, make sure to keep your body, mind and spirit fit and refreshed via exercise, prayer or meditation, community service and stimulating reading.

If you notice that these themes are visited often in HQ Notes, you now know why. Covey’s thoughts inform my viewpoints quite a bit. He leaves a tremendous legacy.