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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Covey, Stephen R. New York: Simon and Shuster, 1989.

Book Notes by Brian Hofmeister

Part 1: Paradigms and Principles

Chapter 1: Inside-Out
Too often we focus on fixing our personality, but not our character. We figure out
how we must act to accomplish what we desire yet we are neglect the fact that a
changed being produces the same actions and is actually fulfilling instead of fake.
In reaping for so long where we have not sown, perhaps we have forgotten the
need to sow (21). Relying on positions, titles, fake smiles, and shallow
conversations is borrowing power from a source that is not true, or if true, may
be fleeting. Live a life that works from the inside-out, not vise versa
Our paradigms, correct or incorrect, are the sources of our attitudes and
behaviors, and ultimately our relationships with others (30). Two people can
clearly see the same thing and entirely disagree due to their different paradigms
(the way you see something; your frame of reference). To fix problems, try to
examine you paradigm and how it influences your approach to the situation;
propose an alternative paradigm you could take. See pages 41-42 for illustrations
and examples. Examining the paradigms of others may also help you relate.
Integrating Inside-out and Paradigms: Examining you paradigms helps you
examine self, subsequently improve self and therefore have a positive impact with
Quotes: Thoreau: For every thousand hacking at the leaves of evil, there is on
striking at the root. (31)
Chapter 2: Seven Habits Overview
You must have personal victories before you will have public victories
Habits involve three essentials: knowledge (what to do and why to do it), skills
(ability to), and desire (want to). Like a space shuttle, habits take a lot to get off
the ground, but you get a lot of easy mileage when in orbit.
Maturity Cycle: dependence to independence to interdependence
Maintain a P/PC Balance. P is production and PC is production capability. We
cannot go so aggressively for production that we abuse the physical, financial, and
human sources of our production capability.

Part 2: Private Victory

Chapter 3: Habit 1, Be Proactive
Correcting Pavlovs Theory: Between every stimulus and response lies our
choice. Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions. We can
subordinate feelings to values (71).
Proactivity: Rather than moaning about what has happened to us, choose how
you want it to affect you. Any time we think the problem is out there, that is the

problem (89). We must learn that humans are responsible and are therefore
response-able. I must acknowledge that I am where I am
because of me.
Circle of Concern and Influence: If you focus on your
circle of influence, you improve what you can, and
eventually your success will increase your Circle of
Influence. If you focus on the Circle of Concern, you only
dwell on that which you cannot change and eventually decrease your Circle of
Influence. The point is that you can always do something; therefore focus on
what you can address and be at peace with you cannot.
We are free to choose actions, but not consequences. Do what you can to bring
about change and do not beat yourself up over the response or lack thereof.

Chapter 4: Habit 2, Begin with the End in Mind

Habit 1 taught us that we can write our own script, Habit 2 is writing it. This is
not a step of getting it done, this is a step of clearly articulating what you want
to end up with. If you do not right your own script, someone else will your
dependence on others, need for love or acceptance, need for a sense of worth or
belonging will enable others to control the direction of your life.
Familiarize yourself with your principles and values these will never change.
o Consider what you would want said at your funeral by family, friend, coworker, and church member.
o People cant live with change if theres not a changeless core inside
them. The key to the ability to change is a changeless sense of who you
are, what you are about and what you value (108).
Avoid the activity trap: we often work harder, do more, and maximize efficiency
only to climb a ladder that we later realize was leaned up against the wrong wall.
Our hyper activity blinded us to the things that we value most, the things that are
now gone (98-99).
Write a mission statement of what you want to be and do based upon your
Having a center to who you are
o Your center is your principles and values mixed with your mission.
o Varying circumstances do not affect your center.
o Making family, work, church, self, or money your exclusive center will
result in lopsided decisions. See page 126-127 for an example, page 119121 for an explanation of each false center, and page 124 for what it
means to be centered on your principles
o Your center has four parts
Security: Assured of who you are
Spiritual Application CHRISTS LIFE EXCHANGED
Changing circumstances do not affect your identity
You stand confidently for your principles
Wisdom: Properly assess the world around you


You discern what the outcome will be of surrounding trends
and feel no obligation to join them.
You are continually learning.
You proactively work within your sphere of influence
Guidance: An approach to life
Spiritual Application SCRIPTURE
You have discerned how to get to where you are going
You stand on truth and are not intimidated by others
You make well pondered proactive decisions rather than
being tossed about by the emotions of the situation
Power: The ability to act
Spiritual Application HOLY SPIRIT
You do what you set out to do regardless of varying
responses and circumstances
You work within an interdependent network
Apply your mission statement to your different roles in life. What does honoring
God above all else translate into you involvements as a husband, son, brother,
Visualization and Affirmation
o Visualize your involvements before you are in them.
o Affirm a positive picture of what you will do and be, especially in
anticipation of difficult circumstances that tend to sway you.
Family and Organizational Application: The individual principles above can be
used at a corporate level, yet always keep in mind that they must be deeply
involved in the mission statement if they are to be committed.
Quotes: Warren Bennis Management is doing things right; leadership is doing
the right things. (101)

Chapter 5: Habit 3, Put First Things First

Habit 1 says, Youre the programmer, Habit 2 says, write the program, Habit 3
says, Run the Program. Habit 3 is all about organizing and executing priorities.
What one thing could you do that would most improve your personal or
professional life? You probably named a Quadrant II activity, thus showing the
value of focusing your life on Quadrant II activities.
Not Urgent


Not Important


Setting a Quadrant II Focus. Do not attend to leaves and neglect roots.

Feed opportunities and starve problems. Eliminate Quadrant III and IV
activities immediately, and slowly minimize quadrant I. You are always going
to have to say no to something; wouldnt you rather say no to the good
rather than the best?
Needs of a Quadrant II Organization Tool
o Coherence: What you do matches what you most want to be. Your
mission statement is placed in your organizer so that it may be regularly
referred to and lived out.
o Balance: Success is pursued in all critical areas. It does you little good to
achieve a successful business career while suffering a broken marriage,
ruined health, shallow faith, and weak character.
o Quadrant II Focus: Schedule your priorities rather than prioritizing what is
on your schedule. Weekly schedule accomplish this more readily than
daily schedules.
o People Dimension: Most agree that people are more important than tasks
and therefore this must be factored into your schedule.
o Flexibility: Make the organizer work for you; do not be run by it.
o Portability: Your organizer must travel well.
Quadrant II Activities
o Identify Roles (ex: father, employee, church member, etc)
o Select Goals: Each week, set 2-3 important goals for each of your roles.
Make weekly goals consistent with your overall mission/long-term goals.
o Scheduling: Assign each goal to a particular day or appointment.
o Daily Adapting: Review goals at the beginning of the day to gain
Stewardship Delegation
o You get more done if you empower others to work with/for you. see page
172 for lever analogy
o Needed Communication for Stewardship Delegation
Desired Results: Create a clear, mutual understanding of what the
desired results will look like. Tell them what, not how.
Set parameters of unacceptable approaches
Tell them what has failed before
Remember to only tell them what not to do, not what to do.
Resources: Explain human, financial, technical, and organizational
tools at their disposal.
Accountability: Establish criteria from which the outcome will be
evaluated and how often progress will be evaluated.

Consequences: Explain the rewards and punishments that will
result when evaluated.
Trust is the highest form of human motivation, (178).
Establishing appropriate amounts of trust
For Immature People: Specify few desired results and
more guidelines, resources, frequent accountability, and
immediate consequences.
For Mature People: Specify more challenging desired
results; less guidelines and frequent accountability; less
measurable but more discernable consequences.

Part 3: Public Victory

Chapter 6: Paradigms of Interdependence
The Covey concept of Emotional Bank Accounts teaches that you must make
significant deposits in a person before you can expect significant withdrawals.
There are six ways to make deposits:
o Efforts to Understand People
o Small acts of kindness and concern
o Keeping commitments
o Clarifying Expectations
o Showing Personal Integrity Its how you treat the one that reveals how
you regard the ninety-nine, because everyone is ultimately a one, (197).
o Sincere Apologies
Chapter 7: Habit 4, Think Win/Win
Six Paradigms of human interaction:
o Win/Win Collaborate
o Win/Lose = Compete
o Lose/Win = Accommodate
o Lose/Lose = Avoid
o Win
o Win/Win or No Deal
All six may be appropriate according to varying circumstances but Win/Win or
No Deal should be the dominant paradigm.
Win/Win or No Deal
o Means that if we cannot find a solution that would benefit both of us, we
agree to disagree agreeably.
o It is built on the Abundance Mentality -there is plenty out there for
everybody. Enough personal worth and security exists to share authority,
recognition, and profits. You are comfortable with and desire to share
Win/Win in Management settings

o Organizations and individuals profit most when appropriate responsibility
and freedom is given to individuals.
o Focus is on results, not methods
o Accountability comes from people evaluating themselves.
o Establish consequences
Financial (income, allowances, etc)
Psychic (approval, respect, etc) usually more motivating than
Opportunity (training, benefits, etc)
Responsibility (shift of authority domain)
o If you talk Win/Win but reward Win/Lose youve got a losing program on
your hands, (229).
o Process for creating a Win/Win organization:
Understand the problem from the other view
Identify the key issues and concerns (not positions)
Determine what results would constitute and acceptable solution
Identify options to achieve the desired results
Chapter 8: Habit 5, Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Unless you are influenced by my uniqueness, Im not going to be influenced by
your advice (239). Too often we proscribe before gaining enough understanding
to diagnose.
Effective communication
o Rephrase their content and reflect their feelings. You must show you
caught their emotion and their words. Understand people emotionally!
o Ethos, Pathos, Logos Sequence: Communication starts with your
credibility, grasps the others concerns/wants, and then gives a logical
response that addresses those concerns.
o Effective business transactions often come down to communicating an
understanding of the others needs and then honestly explaining to what
extent you can meet those needs.
Chapter 9: Habit 6, Synergize
1+1=3 or 4. Coveys synergy philosophy teaches that two people, perspectives,
or thoughts can be pooled together to create something entirely different and
notably better than the summation of individuality. This is essentially the
Buddhist teach on the middle way middle is not the compromise, but the
higher point between the two, for example the apex of a triangle.
Our ability to Synergize comes down to how we proportionately value one
thought vs. another. If you are extremely confident in your ability to make proper
assessments and plans, you will not sense a need for help from everyone else that
is off track and therefore will not synergize. For Synergy to happen we must
believe that another person is extremely valuable in working with us to create

success in that they represent experiences and perspectives that I will never be
able to take into account all on my own.
Do not press your mold on another, do not accept anothers mold for yourself;
work with them to create a new mold superior to either.

Part 4: Renewal
Chapter 10: Habit 7, Sharpen the Saw
Previous chapters taught that we must monitor the health of that which creates our
production capability if we want to produce. This chapter focuses on taking care of
ourselves as the highest source of production capability.
Physically: Exercise, Nutrition, Manage stress
Spiritually: Take retreats to 1) Listen carefully, 2) Try reaching back, 3) Examine
your motives, 4) Write your worries on the sand. Prayer and Meditation
Mentally: Our minds were sharpest in college. We would do well to maintain
mental excellence through reading, writing, planning, and visualizing.
Emotionally: Serve, Empathize, Synergize, Develop Intrinsic Security.
Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be
and he will become as he can and should be. Goethe
Chapter 11: Inside-Out Again
Covey closes with personal lessons of how he and his wife came together in greater unity
as they conversationally exposed personal scripting and did not intimidate the other by