The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey

I started a project in 2011 about lawyers. We was a team of 4 guys. One guy left the group, and the 3 of us continued with the project. In this project, I assumed the rol of leader.

I wanted to improve my skills in leadership, so the group could be more motivate.

I searched and found The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, from Stephen Covey. I think his tips about motivation and leadership are very useful. I already shared many thoughts with Dr Covey in this book, but there was others, like “Quadrant”, organization, or how to treat people that they were very interesting for me.

Here you are my highlights and notes for this book:

Listening involves patience, openness and the desire to understand.

Knowledge, skill and desire.


Dependent people need others to get what they want. Independent people can get what they want through their own effort. Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve their greatest success.

P/pc balance (production / production capability ): Don’t care only about results, but what generate these resuslts too.

Its not what happened to us, but our response to what happened to us that hurt us.

Circle of concern: things over which we have no real control and others that we can do something about.

Circle of influence: inside circle of concern. Only things that we can do something about.

Problems areas:
– Direct control: problems involving our own behavior.
– Indirect control: problems involving others people’s behavior.
– No control: problems we can do nothing about, such as our past or situational realities.

– Direct problems: are solved working on our habits (private victories)
– Indirect problems: are solved by changing our methods of influence (public victories)
– no control problems: accept them and learn to live with them.

We can choose our actions but we can’t choose the consequences of those actions .

Mistakes: acknowledge them, correct them and learn from them.

Make commitments and promises to ourselves.

Exercises: page 79

Begin with the end in mind.

All things are created twice: mental and physical.

Develop a personal mission:
-plan weekly work schedule.
-facilitate the success of subordinates.
-Listen twice as much as you speak.
-Concentrate all abilities and efforts on the task at hand, not worry about the next job or promotion.
-Be open to know new people.

Four factors interdependent. That create a balanced character when are in harmony with each other.

Security: Represent your sense of worth, your identity,your emotional anchorage, your self-esteem, your basic personal strength or lack of it.
Guidance: Means your source of direction in life. Criteria that govern moment by moment decision making and doing.
Wisdom: Your perspective on life, your sense of balance, your understanding of how the various parts and principles apply and relate to each other. It embraces judgement, discernment, comprehension. It is an oneness , an integrated wholeness .
Power:Is the faculty or capacity to act, the strength and potency to accomplish something. Is the vital energy to make choices and decisions. It also includes the capacity to overcome deeply embedded habits and to cultivate higher, more effectives ones.

Personal mission statement: break it into roles.

No involvement, no commitment!

Exercise page 171

Putting First things first.

We react to urgent matters. Important matters that are not urgent require more initiative, more proactivity.

-Quadrant I: urgent and important matters.
-Quadrant II: things that are not urgent, but are important.
-Quadrant III: urgent, but not important matters.
-Quadrant IV: not urgent, not important activities.
Effective people spent more time in II.

Peter Drucker: effective people are not problem minded, they’re opportunity minded.

Pareto Principle: 80% of the results flow out of 20% of the activities.

You have to decide what your higher priorities are and have the courage to say “no” to other things.

“If you want to get something done, give it to a busy man”

Organization tips (pag 185):
-Organize your life on a weekly basis.
-The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.
-Your planning tool should be your servant, never your master.

Exercise pag 187.

Gofer delegation: it means: go for this, go for that, do this, do that, and tell me when it’s done.
Stewardship delegation: Its focuses on results instead of methods.

Stewardship delegation five areas:
-Desired results.

Emotional Bank Account: you make deposits (kindness, courtesy, honesty and keeping my commitments to you). Your trust toward me become higher and i can call upon that trust many time if i need to.

6 major deposits that build the Emotional Bank Account:
-Understandig the individual.
-Attending to the Little Things.
-Keeping commitments.
-Clarifying expectations.
-Showing Personal Integrity.
-Apologizing sincerely when you make a withdrawal.

Think Win-Win

6 paradigms of interaction:
-Win-win: all parties feel good about the decision. See life as a cooperative, not a competitive arena.
-Win-lose: if i win you lose. Competition.
-Lose-win: i lose you win. Step on me again, everyone does.
-lose-lose: if i havent it you either.
-win: they don’t want someone else to lose. That’s irrelevant. What matters is that they win.
-win-win or no deal: It would be better not to deal than to live with a decision that wasn’t right for us both.

5 dimensions of win-win:
Integrity: keeping meaningful promises and commitments.
Maturity: balance between courage and considerations.
Abundance Mentality: there is plenty out there for everyone.
-Relationship: emotional bank account.
-Agreements: stewardship delegation.

Compensation system: the managers only made money when their salespeople (subordinates) made money.

Four step process to get win-win solutions:
-see the problem from the other point of view. Understand it.
-identify the key issues and concerns involved.
-determine what results would constitute a fully acceptable solution .
-identify possible new options to achieve those results .

Exercise page 256

Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply.

Satisfied needs do not motivate. Its only the unsatisfied need that motivates.

The amateur salesman sell products, the professional sells solutions to needs and problems.

Presentations: ethos, phatos and logos (page 278).

Exercise page 283.

Synergy: the whole is greater than tne sum of its parts.

Synergy Comunication: the middle way. If both parts have different and incompatible desires/needs. Look for a middle solution between both.
Exercise page308

Sharpen the saw

Four dimensions of your nature:
-Physical: beneficial eating, exercising and resting.
-Spiritual: Spending time in nature, expanding spiritual self through meditation, music, art…
-Mental: Learning, reading, writing, teaching…
-Social/Emotional: Making social and meaningful connections with others.

Exercise page 329

The 7 habits:
– Be proactive.
– Begin with the end in mind.
– Put First things first .
– Think win-win
– Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
– Synergize.
– Sharpen the saw.

– search of identity (anwar sadat)
– getting to yes (roger fisher and William ury)
– les miserables.
– chariots of fire