Friday, 20 June 2008

Revisiting the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People"

It had been a while since I last read the classic text by Covey on "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People". So it was good to have the opportunity recently to attend a 45 min overview of this scholarship from the FranklinCovey Organisation

[NOTE: for a great summary of the book - click here]

With so much written on the subject - I doubt that I have any new insights to offer on this work.

Equally, I was struck by a couple of things:

Firstly: the book is nearly 20 years old, with over 15 million sold. So - it is somewhat depressing to continue to see the statistics that show that this 'common sense' is still not 'common practice'.

According to FranklinCovey:

Only 31% of people say they "focus on things they can impact, rather than on things they can't"

33% of people say they "live by the principle that 'my success is your success' "

32% of people "actively seek out differing viewpoints"

Hence, I wonder to what extent these statistics are driven by (i) a lack of knowing/remembering the concepts provided by Covey; (ii) a lack of belief in the model ...i.e. that these 'habits' do correlate with effectiveness; and/or (iii) a lack of ability in workers to put the model into practice.

Does anyone have any insights on this ?

Secondly: Re - Habit 7 'Sharpen the Saw' "to maintain and increase effectiveness, we must renew ourselves in body, heart, mind and soul"

... while many L&D professionals will be familiar with posing the question of "Assuming you have a year to live, what legacy would you want to leave ?" (or something similar) to get to the heart of what is important for people. I also liked their use of the question:

"Assume your knowledge and skills will be obsolete in two years. What new learning avenues would you explore ?"

While we all hope that the 'a year to live' is a significant under-estimate - skills & knowledge being obsolete in two years feels much less of an underestimate these days !