The seven habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey


I think that inspirational books can be of great help as they are based on the observation of Human nature and on our common patterns. However, there is no need to follow everything they say to the letter, as everyone of us is unique and more or less comfortable with some advised behaviour.

As this is resolutions time, I thought I would share with you this good summary of Stephen Covey’s famous motivational book The Seven Habits of highly effective people, which I read a few years back.

The advice is professionally oriented but “to learn one thing a day” or “to let the other speak to the end” feel like sound advice for anybody. And I particularly like the one when he says that the private sphere (Family, sports, leisure…) comes first, work coming second. I had never thought of this that way and I don’t know to what extent this is applicable!




(culled and translated from an article of L’EXPRESS/L’ENTREPRISE by Marie-Madeleine Sève)


There are bad habits that we must get rid of… and good ones, those that help us open up, according to management Guru, Stephen R.Covey, who advised President Clinton. Here they are.

Certain principles of life feed success, according to Stephen R.Covey, former advisor to President Clinton, author of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” (1). Nicolas Duguay, mental trainer and Associate Director of CAA firm, offers a variation (among others) in seven practical tips. Attention, it is by the combined and repeated application of those habits that one will see beneficial results.

Habit # 1: to propose a new idea per day

Be proactive rather than reactive to the environment. You need to reach beyond your self-centered concerns and focus on your surroundings, on your “circles of influence”, on what you are able to impact.

Systematically go beyond your position’s assigned missions by proposing a new idea a day or a week, to your customers, to your team, to your peers … This is how Xavier Niel, who is often a step ahead on the market, operates. Target easy things: make contributions to a blog, post a lecture note, sign up for a newsletter, suggest improvements to your hierarchy … These actions wake up your neurons and create a link.

Habit # 2: Think backwards

To succeed, it is better to have a “life plan” to five years, three years, six months, on a personal and a professional level: to obtain a position, to move, etc. We must therefore think down very regularly our activities and sub-objectives based on this or those ultimate goal or goals. A crucial “strategic habit” that will prevent you from drowning in the short term. Elaborate on a notebook or file a schedule with two columns “pro” and “personal”, crossing dates and booking of space to list your reflections and needed shifts in orientation. For over five years, there will inevitably be some adaptations.

Habit # 3: prioritize the private sphere

Family, sports, relaxation and then … work. This is the right order of things that should guide your pen when you fill in your calendar every week or every month. Because if you skip the inner circle, it will return to you like a boomerang at a critical time. And you will say to yourself that you have missed something important, your son game, an evening with your spouse, etc. Furthermore, reading for leisure is not incidental, it is inspiring. The office files will always be there and will never let themselves forgotten. Important things come before urgent things! This does not exclude to be flexible in your organization.

Habit 4: learn one thing a day

To sharpen his faculties is to progress by yourself and not via the outside. The assumption is that of a constant renewal through your curiosity. Embark on micro-challenges: every week, ask four questions to your boss, read two articles, change the way you approach a prospect and draw lessons from what is happening. You will become even more intelligent. Furthermore, there is nothing better than to experiment to get out of boredom!

Habit 5: let the other speak to the end

Always seek to understand your partner by adopting two postures. 1 / Abstain from cutting his sentences responding tit for tat, which lead to imposing your views. 2 / Ask three questions regardless of what is asked for. “Why do you want me to realize that?”; “What are the issues?”; “What is the ideal deadline for you?”. This automaticity allows you to hear and understand in depth the others point of view before giving yours.

Habit 6: seek agreements tirelessly

Opt for an “abundance mentality” on the premise that there are things to share. Rather than getting on your pegs at each difficulty, take the time to chat with your partner thinking that they do not want to deprive you from your belongings (or power). Look for an acceptable compromise for a common victory. Meet halfway, or even accept a 60-40 against you in a logic of “win / win” situation. But if the agreement is not good, refuse it.

Habit 7: Establish intra- or inter exchanges rituals

This is to generate synergy that fosters momentum and creativity. Feed the intranet often and the in-house social network, launch regular “speed dating” in your service or between entities, formal and / or informal (snacks, walks in an open green space…). Information that goes around decompartmentalizes the company, boosts the teams and gives you stamina.

(1) Republished by Flammarion, collection “J’ai Lu”, 2012

The original article can be found in French here.

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