Habits 1 begins with the notion of "Proactivity"; we need to work towards our desired outcomes rather than waiting

for them just to "happen". Described is how we have we have our own "Circle of Influence", an area of our lives that we have personal control over and can do something about if we're unhappy about an area of our lives. The size of our circle of influence depends on how proactive we are; the less proactive, the smaller the circle of influence; the more proactive, the larger the circle of influence. It is also described how we also have a "Circle of Concern", areas of our lives over which we have no control. To illustrate these two circles that affects our lives: Circle of Influence
• • • •

Having an annoying co-worker/boss Wanting a new car Learning a new skill Making more friends/meeting new people

Circle of Concern
• • • •

Natural disasters The global "Credit Crunch" Governmental decisions Traffic Jams

Too often we focus on our circle of concern, things that we have no control over and have no chance of affecting, rather than our circle of influence which we can directly control. Why do we do this? I personally think that it's because we fear taking responsibility for our actions. On the other hand, seems to attribute it to the fact that we're "conditioned" into thinking that our circumstances (work, financial, relationships etc.) are beyond our control and we're essentially stuck with what we have.

We will be spending a great deal of the chapter discussing paradigms - the "maps" and belief systems that govern the way that we live our lives. An excellent example given is that if you were asked to find a certain place in City A, but were given a map to City B, there is no way you could reach your destination - except by accident and it would take a long time! We'd end up wandering aimlessly blaming poor street signage and the like rather than the map (and ourselves). If we were to be more "effective" then we'd use the pro-activity habit; we'd be pro-active and ask someone for directions; we'd realize we were using the wrong map and buy or borrow a new one.

What I learned from Habit One
The main thing I took away from this chapter is that we seem to be lacking a sense of personal responsibility, that everyone else is to blame. This chapter drives home the fact that it's not them, it's me; it's not I can't, it's I won't. If I am unhappy with a situation, it's up to me to change that situation, it's within my circle of influence so it's up to me to do something about it. I could sit and wait for a change to magically happen and when it doesn't I can blame my circumstances, family, friends, work - everything but the root cause of the problem - me and my inaction.

but we know we can only influence and help these people to a certain extent and they hover in the grey area between by circle of influence and circle of concern. it's our responsibility and that nothing will change if we don't personally take control and do something about it. We shifted to looking at situations differently. Hopefully we'll now be able to continue with this new-found self awareness and start affecting the outcomes of things we have previously felt were other people's problems. seeing if the way We react. We've done this on a couple of occasions and have been pleasantly surprised by the positive reaction of people which has generally been along the lines of "Wow! Why hadn't I thought of that before?" We really are buying into being more proactive in situations and have been analyzing our actions a lot more and as a consequence. in turn. What are we going to do about it? We've already started to change the way we are thinking. is in a proactive enough way. family and colleagues. WE ARE NOT! A couple of "tests" to do and one is to discuss the idea of pro-activity with people around you friends. More often than not. People around us have also started to notice this shift in our paradigms and we. .It's an inbuilt human function to apportion blame on anyone but ourselves .part of the fight or flight mentality that we have had since our caveman days. have begun to notice other peoples’ inaction. we realize now a lot of the issues we face are within our circle of influence.

. If we don't do this. Our circle of influence and level of proactivity will help form these values. father. the second phase of building the house will require tremendous time and costly reworking to put the problems right. . and get the design exactly right. which this habit is based on. "centeredness".) Another thing that will affect our core values is our position of." you have end goals in mind that you can aim for. This brings us straight back to the paradigms that we had a look at in Habit 1 . actions etc. It states that everything (thoughts. as based on our paradigms and where we feel we want to be/achieve. It gives a nice example of this process in asking us to imagine that we're building a house. workable and relevant paradigm we need to figure out what the desired end result is. We have to imagine what friends and family might say in their elegies.. And in order to lead we need to know what the right thing to do is. manager etc.. The task in this habit is to create a "Personal Mission Statement" . as will our roles and responsibilities (husband.you can't manage without leadership: Management is doing things right Leadership is doing the right things In order to manage ourselves (and others) effectively we need leadership.) are created twice."He was a good man. We need to get the first mental creation right in order to be able to create and fulfill the physical creation.in order to create a successful. It stresses that leadership (the first creation) isn't management (the second creation) . The first step is to create and refine the blueprints of our dream home.Habit 2 begins with the task of trying to visualize our own funeral." or "She was always willing to help.. The idea of this is that if we know the type of thing we'd want them to say . Habit 2 then moves on to the concept of "Personal Leadership". First as a mental creation (the idea of what your goal is) and secondly as a physical creation (the actions you do to achieve your goal).a list of values that we wish to follow that will help us reach our desired destination.

Circle of Centers What I learned from Habit 2 I have to admit I didn't really take away a great deal from this chapter. it certainly didn't have the "wow" factor of Habit 1.We usually think of centeredness in terms of "self" as in only thinking of your self. It goes on to break this down further into more granular groups: • • • • • • • • • • Spouse Family Money Work Possessions Pleasure Friend Enemy Church Self A person can be in one or more of these groups and ideally we need to find a balance between all centers as this will lead us to our core values and principles on which we will base our paradigms and mission statement. .

.I also struggled with the concept of the personal mission statement which Covey likened to the American Constitution which is where he lost me somewhat . Also. being fairly young. Also. we are not necessarily sure what the best path for us to take.being English that analogy is irrelevant to me. I have a feeling that this is going to be the hardest of the habits for me to master and I'm going to have to really knuckle down in order to create a workable and honest personal missionstatement. Habit 3 begins with looking back over the previous two habits providing a re-cap of what we've learned so far. I remember having to write one at school about 20 years ago! What am I going to do about it? This is a difficult one! I'm really struggling with deciding on my "End" and without the end I have no starting point! I'm going to have to sit down and think really hard about what I want and where I want to go which will not be easy as I've never been big on introspection. the concept of a personal mission statement isn't new to me.

unless they change their definitions of urgent so that urgent becomes "Argh! My house is on fire!" A lot of this chapter revolves around time management. I'm in charge Habit 2 . relationships etc.I am doing it (The second creation) In previous habits we've used our "right brain" to instill personal leadership in ourselves by defining our beliefs and destination. Habit 3 teaches us to become "personally effective".in fact we don't see how anyone could say they spend most of their time here . but to be honest it doesn't cover it in enough depth to be of any real use.The vision to see the results and potential (The first creation). Okay. We can use a time management matrix to illustrate the point. it cited the personal effectiveness maxim: Manage from the left [brain]. we can see the point here but we can't really say that we could possibly spend the majority of my time in this quadrant .• • • Habit 1 . in order to be personally effective.) and ensure goals (our first things first) are balanced to enable us to move into quadrant 2. . work. but them we could just be saying that because we've done a lot of reading around the subject and for a novice it would be considered adequate. Habit 3 looks at goal setting again for each area of our responsibility (home. Lead from the right [brain].I can do it. we need to spend most of our time in quadrant 2 "Important but not urgent". Apparently. This habit centers mainly around the notion that personal effectiveness equals a good work/life balance. to manage ourselves. Habit 3 . In order for us to understand how this fits into the overall scheme of things.

Discussed are roles. but I think I'll keep managing myself the way I currently am . not a lot! I did like the time planner that was produced . Not a lot! I think that I'm pretty "effective" anyway but I will examine how I'm handling things and try to determine what quadrant they're fitting into.which is actually quite similar to the one I came up with over 2 years ago and it's given me a couple of ideas of how to revise it. so it didn't have a huge impact on us and again we found the approach quite simplistic but it did make for a nice refresher.. ..it seems to be working for me at the moment! What am I going to do about it? Er. What I learned from Habit 3 To be honest. delegation and learning to say "No" which again we’re quite familiar with.

This happens when two Win/Lose people clash. If we value a relationship. and what the other person wants to achieve.a whole way of thinking and being. It's an "every man for himself" mentality.This is where."If I lose. you win. this is the habit of creating effective interpersonal leadership. this can however lead to an eventual breakdown in relationships as resentment builds up. you lose. If I Win I will make you feel bad which leads to a withdrawl from my emotional bank account. it leads to a stubborn impasse as they try to beat each other at all costs. It's a win at all costs mentality which is usually instilled from childhood. every time we interact with others it fits into one of these categories: • • • • • • Win/Win Win/Lose Lose/Win Lose/Lose Win Win/Win or No Deal Let's look at each of these types of interactions described below: Win/Win . What's the best option? The best option really depends on what situation we are in at the time. Win/Lose doesn't work. The problem with Lose/Win is that whilst you may feel happy your friend/colleague etc." This is very authoritarian in style and can be seen as overlay competitive.We .Habit 4."If I win. This philosophy is based on 6 paradigms of interaction. Basically. Win/WIn or No Deal . Win . This isn't just a technique that you can apply to every day situations and relationships. The same goes for Lose/WIn . In an interdependent relationship. If we want to increase competition (in your sales force for example) we may go for a Win/Lose strategy. what we want to achieve. All parties come out on top Win/Lose .Mutually beneficial and co-operative. In order to manage our relationships with others properly we need to think "Win/Win". Lose/Lose .Don't really want anyone to lose they just want everyone to come out on top. we may opt for Lose/Win in order to keep the peace. has come out on top. if a mutually beneficial outcome cannot be reached." This is usually the attitude of people who want to keep the peace and not upset the applecart. it's a philosophy . Lose/Win . then you know it's okay to walk away with no hard feelings.

which each build up on each other to form effective interpersonal leadership: So character builds relationships. His job from then on is to remove the oil spills. He can get things going and then get out of the way.and Lose/Lose . The only viable option is Win/Win. employees can manage themselves within the framework of that agreement. Reward systems need to be aligned with the goals and beliefs of the organizations.stop caring about you because you don't care . The manager can then serve like a pace car in a race. It uses a great analogy regarding creating agreements: Developing a Win/Win performance agreement is the central activity of management. With an agreement in place. or Win/Win/No Deal. How do you achieve a Win/Win situation? The are 5 "dimensions to achieving a Win/Win situation. Note that in the diagram above. This leads back to the habit of putting first things first . which leads to an agreement within an agreed system and manner of process.if we don't know what we want then we can't achieve it. Systems need to exist in order to allow a Win/Win situation to take place. If you think Win/Win but the system rewards Win/Lose then everyone loses faith and the system collapses. an agreement is required before you decide on the system and processes. .we both make withdrawls from each others accounts.

communication strategy. the whole path to a Win/Win situation is built from the ground up on the 5 dimensions. budgeting. being the proactive person we now are.All systems need to be Win/Win if this is the goal of the organization. What are we going to do about it? We need to ask myself and others what they want from a situation . I've also learned that it's okay to walk away from a situation . we can do that! To recap what we've covered before.you don't lose face and it enables you to revisit the situation further down the road with no animosity.and of course. it's more about what others want.assuming that the other party is okay with this . What have we learned from this habit? I've learned that it's not what I want from a situation. we've looked at: . you need to include planning. It is also to be noted that “ if you put good people into a bad system you get bad results”. We can never reach a mutually acceptable solution if we don't know what each other want to get out of it. You can't just rely on the rewards system motivating employees to think Win/Win. you can't ignore one and hope the others fall into place. training .every aspect of the organization needs to be thinking the same way.

Habit 5 isn't just about purely learning to listen to the other person though.Here we learn to take charge of situations and work towards our desired outcomes Habit 2 . We need to be non-judgmental and not make assumptions (assume makes an ASS of U and ME remember!). Just think of Counsellor Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation. No we move on to Habit 5 . but we don't.• Habit 1 . Therefore when people have a problem.We need to reach mutually beneficial outcomes to become more personally effective and build up our "Emotional Bank Account" • • • • The above should give us a nice round-up of what it's all about. or ask for advice. When we want to control or guide a situation into a mutually beneficial outcome. we can't help or influence the situation as we can't see the world . bought the tee-shirt" mentality.Be Proactive .what they want. we've failed to understand completely. I think he really should have discussed a mutually beneficial outcome here (which he gets on to much later in the chapter) rather than jump right into the "benefits" of influencing people. when we listen. a sort of "been there. Unless we understand them. Generally when we listen we don't understand at all. Usually. you can't just use technique as this will seem cold. It is sort of nasty. It sets out in Habit 5 to change the way we interact with people by changing the way that we listen to them.How to become "personally effective" The Public Victory Phase . When you think about it. Machiavellian connotations. everything is "understood" within our own frame of reference. they don't really show that you feel empathy for the individual at all. We have to admit we were a bit surprised that it uses the term "Influence".Think Win/Win . need and aspire to as well as what their motivations and mindset are.Put First Things First .We need to know where we're going in order to get there Habit 3 . done that. These habits need to be in place and understood for you to be truly able to understand and then be understood. We may think we do.Start with the end in mind .We begin to move from our own private area of influence into the public arena Habit 4 . she was a rubbish listener! Stock phrases such as "How does that make you feel?" seem hollow and automatic. unfeeling and manipulative."Seek first to understand then to be understood" Habit 5 centers around the understanding of the other person . In order to reach a Win/Win situation ( Habit 4) and be able to influence people and the outcome we need to understand the other person first. we see it from our point of view not theirs. It's essentially the culmination of the techniques in the first 4 habits.

they start feeling better about themselves so feel better about you and begin to open up more. we only use one of the first four however the 5th is the one that we should be using: 1. body cues) and intellectually. think about the number of times Troi was taken over.through their eyes.Do we agree or not? 2. we've opened them up so you can problem solve (influence). Evaluate . We need the foundations of habits 1. . uncaring and manipulative which leads to a withdrawal from your emotional bank account. you have the ability to be influenced as well as influence. Going back to the Star Trek analogy again. You full understand their motivations and where they're coming from and this is the key to building up your emotional bank account with this person. Selective Hearing 4.or only accept it if we're happy with it. Empathic Empathic listening isn't about agreeing with the other person. Pretending 3. due to her empathic nature. Using any of the other 4 listening techniques could (or should I say probably would) be seen as cold. Attentive 5. everything's coming from our frame of reference not from theirs which is at the core of empathic listening.Giving advice based on our own experiences 4.Interpret their motives based on our own motives/behavior This is all well and good.Asking questions 3. Generally. Ignoring 2. influenced etc. but it doesn't really help the person that we're listening to. As well of 5 ways of listening. behaviorally.e. Empathic listening gives the other person an emotional boost (this is referred to as "Psychological Air"). There is a downside to an Empathic listening. I guess that old saying of "In order to understand someone you have to walk 100 miles in their shoes" (or something like that) should be rephrased slightly! It goes on to describe 5 different types of listening styles. physically (i. Interpreting . it's about understanding them emotionally. 2 and 3 to be able to avoid this influence . Advising . there are 4 ways of responding to what we've heard: 1. Probing .

Mimic . don't push them and try to force them into opening up to us. This will most certainly lead to a withdrawal from our emotional bank account as we'll actually seem cold. Just showing empathy and that you care should be enough. . which. each building on the one before it. as it may do if you're at stage 4 of empathic listening .Put their feelings into words for them 4. seeking to be understood requires courage. Reflect . Rephrase . Habit 5 sits right in the middle of our circle of influence. is the second half of Habit 5.you need to drop back down to step one so that you can begin to understand again the root cause of their problem and what needs to be done to reach a mutually beneficial outcome. Rephrase and Reflect . For example: WE could hold regular 1-2-1 meetings with our team members. Listening with empathy and understanding will greatly increase our emotional bank balance and inspire great loyalty among our staff. The area we're aware of but can't do anything about it. It is said that "Seeking to understand requires consideration. we can be proactive and act before something comes up." You need to base your desires around the other's frame of reference and have the conviction to get your points across in a way that's mutually beneficial to all parties. Many of the factors within this habit lie within our circle of concern.Repeat what the other person said 2.Rephrase their comments to show that you've understood 3. The main thing to take note of here is that whatever we do. So essentially you start at step one and as they open up more when moving to the next step: 1. It's also important to remember that people don't necessarily have to open up in order for you to have a deposit made into your emotional bank account. Empathic listening allows us to move these items into our circle of influence so that we can do something about them. or notice that they're having an issue. unfeeling and manipulative.Combine steps 2 and 3 When the other person's response starts to get emotional. we too need to be understood. We also don't have to wait for people to come to us with problems. As well as understanding.There are 4 stages to empathic listening.

. It's going to be quite hard not to jump in and be judgmental without a frame of reference but we will try as much as we can.What have we learned from this chapter? We learned that all listening is not created equal. It's going to feel a bit awkward at first to use empathic listening rephrasing other's people's sentences can have the unfortunate side effect of sounding sarcastic. people may think we are taking advantage if we are not too careful. We also learned that we’re guilty of step 4 Attentive listening rather than being Empathic as we thought we were being. We've also learned that just because we think we may have a solution to someone's problem we shouldn't verbalize this until we really understand where they're coming from and what they want. What are we going to do about it? We are really going to try and be better listeners. and as we are sarcastic by nature.

but hey. 2. 1. or the like. nerves. The cooperative action of two or more muscles. One plus one equals 3 or more Basically. but the spirit of it and how it usually only happens in unusual circumstances (like natural disasters. The cooperative action of two or more stimuli or drugs. The start of the chapter explains how all of the previous habits build up to reach this point of where we can interact in a "synergistic" way with others as synergy. synergism. constantly and in all walks of life. synergistic communication and interaction is all about going off the beaten track and finding new ways of doing things. At the start of the chapter. Basically. so…. what we are trying to get across is the importance of cooperation. Combined action or functioning. feelings and fears WE need to be open about the thoughts. 3. with the enthusiasm and vigor that is launched into the subject which is a bit over the top for the way of looking at things.Habit 6 syn-er-gy (noun) plural -gies. The idea of synergy and slightly more fitting way than the dictionary definition: The whole is greated than the sum of its parts. we’re obviously one of the lucky ones! That aside. not just the act itself. wartime etc). • • • • WE need to be authentic and genuine WE need to be open about your thought. feelings and fears of others WE can't be judgmental . it makes some interesting points as to what synergy is and how you achieve it. but once we get over it. it will actually start to sound quite interesting. It is correct to say that if the majority of people never reach a cooperative stage consistently then that's a real shame in our view. it is the essence of "principle-centered leadership". We are surrounded by co-operation.

while it is initially nice. It is explained with this simple graph: The linear approach doesn't quite sit that well. drop things at a moments notice. is that it increases trust levels. An added benefit of communicating synergistically. to some analyst. and begin to communicate synergistically. it can: • • Become rather irritating after a while Makes us wonder "What's in it for them" . If people are overly cooperative and surely you know the type. Synergy breeds creativity of thought and acts as people become more open as they receive more "Psychological air". simple and ordered when you consider how wacky and irrational we humans are. eager to please. It's all too neat.• WE need to thin Win/Win or Win/Draw If we can achieve this. then the possibilities are endless.

Okay. let us admit that this goes against the whole idea of the former's "Synergy Habit" but it’s quite cynical so we can't help it.we're acting on it but we're not in the spirit of it. If we've mastered the first 5 Habits. we learn to value and embrace differences. then we've moved above this negative synergy and can see the benefit of the whole rather than the one. . or the one.or to quote "The needs of the many outweighed the needs of the few. We document everything. slag people off behind their backs and try to beat other people down." If we think. We may have a difference of opinion but still both be correct. Once we’ve reach that level and keep on trying to pile it on and earn credits in your "Emotional Bank Account" it can begin to turn into feelings of mistrust and even become a lose/lose situation again as you start thinking "Why are they helping us? What are they getting out of this? What will they want in return?" This actually moves us quite nicely into to take on the "Negative Synergy" which is pretty much how everything is! Negative Synergy is where we assist people purely because we're in "cover my own ass" mode. Here's the take on the trust/communication relationship: There's a plateau of trust .sort of a maximum amount you can earn. . It's basically a false representation of Synergizing communication . act and interact synergetically. it doesn't matter though as we're on the same side ultimately and those differences will lead to various opportunities to come up with solutions and lead us in new directions.

It's selfimprovement and self growth in all areas of our lives. Empathy. we use this time to review and renew ourselves. Planning. Basically "Sharpening the saw" is the process of learning.doesn't necessarily mean a classroom or in a formal setting Trying new things . This is the "Scripting" which sounds a lot better than the previous use of the term "Influence". This moves the other person into our Circle of Influence. Intrinsic Security) Spiritual (Value Clarification & Commitment. Social/Emotional. Writing) In order to "Sharpen the saw". nutrition. we need to practice improving the Physical. Visualizing. stress management) Social/Emotional (Service. Spiritual and Mental aspects of our lives. When we "Script" people. Mental Growing rather than stagnating Continuing to learn .pushing the boundaries. going past our "comfort zone" Keeping a diary Social/Emotional This area leans more on Habits four (think Win/Win). giving them "Psychological Air" and building up our emotional bank balance with them. We can break this down into sections and gives us pointers on what we could be improving in each of these areas: Physical Looking after ourselves Eating properly Resting properly Exercise (tying mental and physical activity together) Spiritual This is highly related to Habit 2 (Start with the end in mind) Meditation Self Discovery Self Examination of our inner selves and motivations This links back to our "Personal Mission Statement". Study & Meditation) Mental (Reading. This habit sees us applying learning and growth over 4 main areas: • • • • Physical (exercise. five and six Centers around relationship building Co-operating and making a difference Creates Meaning and purpose Serving the "Greater Good" Bringing together the first 6 habits not only helps us to improve ourselves but other as well. evolving and building on the habits that we've mastered. . Synergy.Habit 7 is the habit that makes all others possible. we can begin to start molding their outlook on life.

Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.Commit . negativity in one area impacts all of the other areas.we know we can do more but we never seem to have the time or inclination for it! What are we going to do about it? Not a lot really! We should think to keep on doing what we’re doing and maybe think about exercising a bit more! . We need to ensure that we balance our self-renewal and growth across all four aspects.It begins to wind down the chapter with a quote from Goethe which is quite an apt way to illustrate the points: Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Improving one aspect should have a positive impact across the other areas but we need to ensure that we don't ignore other aspects that we may not feel comfortable with. not a lot. We think the only thing that we don't look after properly in this habit is Exercise . It is called the "Private Victory".Do". this then creates an "Upward spiral of "Learn . What we’ve learned from Habit Seven We have to admit. which ideally should be practiced an hour a day.

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