FranklinCovey Blog | 7 Habits

On the Balance Beam: Finding Time to Sharpen the Saw

Monday, August 27th, 2012 | 7 Habits, FranklinCovey News, The 7 Habits | No Comments

 FranklinCovey has recently partnered with OpenSesame to offer some of our online learning courses to their catalog. In addition, the company is reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Below is a guest post from Winfield Jackson, a team member at OpenSesame.

This summer I have felt a lot like a beginning gymnast on the balance beam. One moment struggling, one moment soaring like Gabby Douglas in London. I’m at a difficult age, between childhood and adulthood, and working hard to create a grown-up, adult life. As I struggle with my budding professional career, I’ve discovered why one cliche is true: We get caught up in the day-to-day motions of our busy, hectic lives and don’t take the time to recharge our batteries.

 Reading Dr. Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has opened my eyes to one principle I have not respected enough in my life: Sharpen the Saw. For me, sharpening the saw means keeping myself refreshed, so that I have the energy and capacity to thoughtfully exercise the other six habits.

As I’ve read The 7 habits and challenged myself to examine my own behavior, I find that I use routine answers and routine behaviors to absolve myself of the responsibility to examine myself and my approach to life and work. Sharpening the Saw doesn’t mean just being thoughtful about the work you do – it means taking the time to take care of yourself – and your own productive capacity – so that you can have sustainable, productive success.

From skills development and training to family time and vacation, Sharpening the Saw can have a different focus for everyone, but the core meaning is the same: You must respect yourself in order to make the most of your abilities.

Dr. Covey discusses the four components of everyone’s productive capacity: body, mind, spirit and heart. Three of these four components made immediate sense to me: body, mind, and spirit. However, heart stood out as a component that I needed to understand a little better. I’m great at taking the time I need to rest, recover and recreate – but I’m not so good at developing meaningful and high quality relationships. Relationships should be symbiotic. You should receive enjoyment, stimulus, and interaction in return for your time and vice versa. Looking at it through that viewpoint, the heart aspect really spoke to me as something lacking in my relationships with family and friends.

For me, as I enter my junior year in college, I have an important resolution: Take the time to develop and nurture my relationships with friends and loved ones. I realize that I must give as much as I hope to receive in order to continue to grow as a productive adult.

Life is, after all, about balance. Habit 7 really stresses this. Whether it is physical activity or hanging out with a good friend, finding ways to balance yourself with strong foundations in mind, body, heart and spirit will help you find your way on the balance beam.

Winfield Jackson is a Junior at Oklahoma State University where he studies Entrepreneurship. He works as a content developer for OpenSesame, elearning marketplace.

Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 | 7 Habits, FranklinCovey News, Online Learning, The 7 Habits | No Comments

FranklinCovey has recently partnered with OpenSesame to offer some of our online learning courses to their catalog. In addition, the company is reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Below is a guest post from James Lavery, a Content Development Specialist at OpenSesame.

The 5th Habit of Highly Effective People struck home for me because it is something that my mother has taught me from a young age… but not something I’ve always been great at executing.

I come from a family of highly opinionated people. In most situations, everyone takes their own opinion as absolute truth and has no interest in the opinions of others. To this day, I often find myself wracking my brain provide an answer to a question or problem that the person I’m speaking to hasn’t yet fully articulated. I have a desire to interject with my advice, my corrections, my opinions.

 A few months ago on one of my first days working at OpenSesame, I answered my first office call. I was so excited to finally speak with a potential seller that when they answered the phone I almost forgot to introduce myself. Rather than ask them if they had any questions about OpenSesame or how we work, I immediately went right into who we are, our goals, and our mission statement – with gusto. I was almost 5 minutes into the call before I found out that this person was not a possible partner for us.

 As Dr. Covey writes in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Communication is the most important skill in life.” We speak or otherwise relay our message, take in what other people have to say, and formulate a response. Dr. Covey posits, however, that “most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” As Dr. Covey describes, sometimes we are so focused on getting our message across that we completely forget that the person we are attempting to communicate with is speaking from their own frame of reference.

 My first sales call with OpenSesame could have benefited from a knowledge of empathetic listening (alas, our office had only read through Habit 2 by that point). In that moment I needed to be discerning and aware. I needed to hear and understand the client’s needs and concerns. I needed to hear that a potential business relationship had little chance of succeeding. Our business development manager always tells us in training that it is good to get the client talking about what they do and what they offer first. After reading about this habit I now see how correct he is. Allowing people to talk about themselves makes them comfortable communicating with you. It gives you accurate information to work with, and it builds what Dr. Covey would call the “emotional bank account” between the two of you.

 Fortunately, although my first call was not perfect, I quickly learned that the most important skill in communication was listening first. Now I start off every call by introducing myself, and then asking the person on the phone who they are and what they know about OpenSesame rather than tell them about OpenSesame.

 James Lavery is a student at Whitman College and a Content Development Specialist at OpenSesame, the world’s largest eLearning marketplace.

The Effectiveness of Webinar Delivery, A Story of Transformation

Monday, August 13th, 2012 | 7 Habits, Online Learning | No Comments

Life comes at us, and sometimes we just want to scream “Wait…I’m not ready.”  Or, “Bring it.  I’m ready.”  I’m in the second mind set; bring it on, because I’m ready.

You might ask, “Ready for what?”  Well, I’m actively embracing the webinar approach to teaching our great content.  I’ve been teaching using webinar technology for a few years.  At first, I did it reluctantly.  I was so bought-up in to the ‘I must be in the room with my students’ that it was hard for me to wrap my head around how effective webinars really could be.

What a surprise when I realized that, indeed, it could be effective.  So, as I’ve gotten more comfortable with the technology, more adept at understanding how my students want/need to learn, and have more confidence in my ability to deal with any betrayal that technology wants to throw my way…

Recently, I had among the most rewarding experiences ever, and even more so within a webinar.  I taught a webinar version of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People for Associates.  The webinar is taught in three 90-minute sessions. At the middle of the second 90-minute session, one of the participants asked if she could talk with me when the day’s teach was over.  At the end of the third session, she patiently waited, and when all the ‘thank you’s’ were said, she asked “Are we alone?  Is the last person off the phone?”  I told her I thought so, but couldn’t guarantee it.  She asked if I could call her. I did just that.

She began by telling me that she did not come to this webinar very willingly.  “My boss made me take it.”  Well, I thought, this is going to be an interesting conversation, isn’t it?  We chatted a little more, my caller telling me that by the middle of the first session she was feeling less like a hostage and more like a ‘curious George.’  At the end of the second session, she realized that this could, indeed, be transformational – if she would let it be.

It was the third session, she said, that really spoke to her.  The closing video was about Leaving a Legacy, and there’s a quote:  “I have cancer, but cancer doesn’t have me.”  She told me that the day before the webinar, her doctor called to tell her that her ovarian cancer was back and she had little time. How do you react to something like this?

She told me that she felt there was divine destiny in the entire day:  her boss insisting that she go, her reluctant willingness to be open to it and the power of the material (what a legacy Dr. Covey leaves us).  I truly felt this magical moment, laced with sadness, unbridled power and privileged to be a messenger.

So, webinars can indeed be as transformational as we let them be.

Author: Andrea Edwards

Andrea Edwards is a Senior Consultant and Director of Client Results for FranklinCovey’s Western Region. She is passionate about helping clients achieve their wildly important goals.

Guest Post: Dependence, Independence, Interdependence and the Stages in Between

Friday, June 29th, 2012 | 7 Habits, FranklinCovey News, Online Learning | 2 Comments

FranklinCovey has recently partnered with OpenSesame to offer some of our online learning courses to their catalog. In addition the company is reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Below is a post from Micaela Deitch, an intern at OpenSesame about her experience reading the book.

As an intern at OpenSesame, my peers and I recently started reading the The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People as a group. Book in hand, I started the path to becoming a compassionate, efficient and – most of all – effective career woman.

 The beginning of my journey was not as smooth as I’d hoped. Dr. Stephen R. Covey explains that many individuals live in a state of dependence, where they feel and take no responsibility for the events of their lives. As a young professional, this resonated with me. Since I was born I’ve been dependent on my family financially and emotionally. Every personal success I achieved felt like it partly came from my family supporting me: paying for my school, consoling me when I didn’t get the part, or praising me when I got a good grade.

Being in a state of dependence had its perks, but I know it is not a sustainable option. All of my role models, including my parents, had a time in their life when they made the change from dependence to independence. It may not have been seamless or pretty, but at some point they moved out of their parents’ house, got a job, and started taking care of themselves. When Covey explained that the state beyond dependence is independence, I had an “aha” moment.

 From Independence to Interdependence

 However, in the next passage of the book, Covey explains that after achieving independence, enlightened individuals move into a state of interdependence. This gave me pause. Moving from dependence to independence to interdependence seems regressive. Isn’t the independent individual, who takes no help from anyone, the epitome of success?

 I found my misunderstanding lay in the distinction between dependence and interdependence. While dependence refers to relying on others to take care of us, interdependence refers to the cooperation for a greater goal. And because there are limits on how productive we can be as individuals, but virtually no limit on how productive we can be when we strategically collaborate with others, being “highly effective” requires interdependence.

It took me awhile to understand this difference, but I soon realized many of my biggest successes in life came from collaborative efforts. Take, for example, my last year of rowing as a senior in high school. I had spent all winter training, hoping to be the fastest and fittest. I spent a lot of time that season thinking about how I could be faster as a rower, but all that individual energy wasn’t helping my boat win races. A crew, like any group endeavor, relies on teammates working together, not for personal success. When I stopped focusing on how I could be stronger or faster, and started thinking about how I could row better to complement my teammates, we started going faster. Eventually, we were rowing fast enough to win 2nd in the region.

 The Next Step for Young Leaders

 As college students make the transition from high school to college to adult life, there’s inevitable urge to rebel, to make a point of becoming independent and throwing off the limitations of childhood. But it is important to remember that paying our own rent, buying our own food, and working diligently at a chosen career path is not the apex of being effective. In order to become truly effective we must use our independence and the stability it grants us as a platform on upon which to build interdependent, highly effective relationships. Only when we work in collaboration with others can we achieve our full potential.

 FranklinCovey recently added some InSights On Demand online learning courses to OpenSesame, global elearning marketplace, where guest blogger Micaela Deitch works as a Business Development intern. She is a rising sophomore at Georgetown University and interested in learning about online education.  


Think Win Win

Friday, May 28th, 2010 | 7 Habits | 2 Comments

Recently I was reading The 7 Habits of Happy Kids with my second grader. We were discussing the habit “Think Win, Win”, after reading the chapter I was reminded to try and think “Win Win” in all aspects of my live.

Lately at work I have noticed this idea of thinking Win Win as well. When we work with the expectation that when you win, I can win as well, it changes the mentality of projects. I have seen people become more engaged, new solutions arise, and sometimes the project goes in a direction that no one believed it could take.

How would you like to win, and have everyone around you not only share in your glory, but have their own glory as well. Change your mindset and see what happens.

What helps you think Win Win?

What was your last win and who did you share it with?

Author: Jennifer Coons, Marketing Manager at FranklinCovey

Empathic Listening Tips

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 | 7 Habits | 9 Comments

Being understood by others is the greatest need of all. – Stephen R. Covey

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey describes Empathic Listening as reflecting what a person feels and says in your own words to their satisfaction so they feel listened to and understood.  Empathic Listening is  not listening to advise, counsel, replay, refute, solve, fix, change, judge, agree, disagree, question, analyze, or figure out. Whether you are familiar with The 7 Habits and are looking for a refresher or new to them all together, here are a few tips to remember when using Empathic Listening.

It is best to use Empathic listening when:

  • Emotion if high.
  • The other person does not feel understood.
  • You do not understand the other person.
  • Trust is low in the relationship.

Here are a few Empathic Listening starters, these should help you get started using Empathic Listening.

  • So, if I am understanding you correctly you are saying…
  • What I’m hearing is…
  • You seem…
  • You must have felt…
  • You feel…about…

What tips have you learned as you have used Empathic Listening in your life at home or at work? We would love to hear from you.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,