General Business Allstar®
Copyright © 2015® - All Rights Reserved

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
by Steven R. Covey

Central Theme: "Don't prioritize what's on your schedule, but schedule your priorities.”

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey's most famous book, was extremely successful and has sold over 15 million copies worldwide since first publication in 1989. The audio version was also the first non-fiction audio book in U.S. history to sell more than one million copies. Many of the ideas and language are recast from the classic 1966 Peter F. Drucker text "The Effective Executive," wherein he writes "Effectivenss, in other words, is a habit" and which includes a chapter called "First Things First." In Covey's version, he argues against what he calls "The Personality Ethic", something he sees as prevalent in many modern self-help books. He instead promotes what he labels "The Character Ethic", which is about aligning one’s values with so called "universal and timeless" principles. Covey is adamant about not confusing principles and values. Principles are external natural laws; values are internal and subjective. Covey proclaims values govern people’s behaviour but it's principles that ultimately determine the consequences. Covey presents his teachings in a series of habits - a progression from dependence, to independence, to interdependence.


  1. "Be Proactive: Principles of Personal Vision." Anticipate and plan for potential problems by putting in early warning systems.

  2. "Begin with the End in Mind: Principles of Personal Leadership." Always look at forecasted total cost at completion and work to ensure that projected trends are headed in the right direction."

  3. "Put First Things First: Principles of Personal Management." Work on the most important activities first and don't let them slip. Know the difference between the truly important and the lesser so.

  4. "Think Win/Win: Principles of Interpersonal Leadership" Collaborate effectively by connecting people to solve problems and complete taskes. Get everyone on the same page.

  5. "Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood: Principles of Empathetic Communication." Different from collaboration, communication is about how much of the information was actually heard and understood.

  6. "Synergize: Principles of Creative Communication." Create accountability by having senior management actively involved in the periodic, rigorous examination of job status. Personnel must seel comfortable to share both good and bad news so that corrective action can be initiated before it's too late.

  7. "Sharpen the Saw: Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal." To improve, you must first define the area that needs improvement, measure its current performance, analyse the relevant data, create ways to improve the process, and then control for adherence to the new process.

  8. []