FranklinCovey Blog | The 7 Habits
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.
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.
In 1989 I noticed a new book in a New Jersey airport bookstore. It was called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I was a “road warrior,” a traveling consultant from Utah, and was mildly interested to find a book written by a fellow Utah native, Stephen R. Covey. But I didn’t buy it.
That was exactly 20 years ago.
Since then Dr. Covey’s book has been called “the most influential business book of the century” (by the Wall Street Journal). It stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for 5 years. A “must-read” now translated into 38 languages, The 7 Habits is now in 20 million copies (and is arguably the most pirated business book in the world). Google “7 Habits” and you’ll get 14 million hits. › Continue reading