FranklinCovey Blog

Guest Post: Putting First Things First – Distinguishing Between Importance and Urgency

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012 | FranklinCovey News | 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 post from Chase Wanamaker, an intern at OpenSesame about his experience reading the book.

To be completely honest, I have always been a bit of a skeptic about the actual results of the millions of  self-help books that exist. For years I always shrugged them off, not realizing the real potential they could have in my specific circumstances. However, as I continue to read Dr. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I’m shocked by its universal relevance. I am starting to understand why so many millions of people have applied these habits to their lives.

 As I look forward to starting my senior year at Gonzaga University this fall, I can’t help but reflect on my organizational habits over the past 3 years. As far back as high school, I can distinctly remember certain times when I felt completely overwhelmed with work and extracurricular activities. I felt as if I was drowning in tasks that needed to get done and could barely get a second to collect my thoughts. As a result, my performance in school and other activities were not as good as they could have been. I was unable to prioritize my schedule and manage my time properly. I was inefficient, and had trouble getting things done.

 The 3rd habit of highly effective people stresses the importance of putting first things first. Dr. Covey begins the chapter by distinguishing between two very important terms: urgency and importance. Covey explains how many people (including myself) often mistake these two words when they prioritize their schedules. To fully comprehend these concepts, you need to first understand Covey’s 2nd habit. More specifically, you must define what is important to you in order to determine which tasks are worthwhile and which are not when choosing how to spend your time. 

Dr. Covey provides an important four quadrant matrix which compares the ideas of urgency and importance, and how the two should impact the way you choose to spend your time. We learn that important tasks are things that must be done to complete your mission, to achieve your life goals. On the contrary, urgent tasks are those which are not necessarily important, but must be attended to because of a deadline. Covey explains that, unfortunately, many people get caught up with urgent tasks and are unable to focus on the important tasks that bring us closer to our goals.

 In my own life, I often find myself caught up doing things that seem to need immediate attention but are ultimately keeping me from getting to important tasks. After reading this chapter, I now know that I need to change this. Prioritizing your schedule according to important tasks not only helps you get closer to achieving your goals but also makes you a more efficient person.

 As I continue to read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I look forward to seeing how this book alone will continue to disprove my original hypothesis on self-help books. The universal applicability of these habits have already proven to be immensely useful in my own personal life. I have already noticed improvements in efficiency in many aspects of my life varying from my internship, school, and even coordinating things with my friends and family. As I continue to read through this book, I look forward to more of the immediate results the application of these helpful habits have already brought to my life. 

FranklinCovey recently added their courses to OpenSesame, global elearning marketplace, where Chase Wanamaker is a business development  intern. He is going to be a senior or Gonzaga University where he studies Business and is double-concentrating in Finance and Marketing.

Guest Post: Visualization: Where Success Begins

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012 | FranklinCovey News | 1 Comment

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 Nick Gipe, an intern at OpenSesame about her experience reading the book.

Everyone has a great story about the first time they read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. As a first-time summer intern thrilled to enjoy my summer away from school, I admit I had not been taking this required reading assignment very seriously. At times I have found it challenging to draw parallels from my life to Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s insights – until I got to Habit 2. 

 I have been a competitive swimmer most of my life, culminating in my current role as a collegiate swimmer for Johns Hopkins University. My club swim coach when I was around 13 years old introduced me to visualization: One day, instead of practice he brought all of us into a yoga studio, where we were all instantly skeptical. He played a tape with a man’s voice asking us all to lay down and imagine ourselves in a race, “moving at ludicrous speeds”.  At the time, I thought it was much more important to put in the physical work to achieve my goals, and I did not think listening to a heavily accented Australian man softly cueing me through visualization exercises was an efficient use of my time.

 With time, however, my coach persuaded me to give it a try. Visualization rapidly became a huge part of my swimming career. I take time out of my day to think through upcoming races, which gives me insights into what I need to do to make my success real. Come race day I have already experienced the race hundreds of times – and all I need to do is execute what I have already experienced.

 Before reading The 7 Habits, I had yet to effectively transition my visualization practices to my life outside of the pool. But Dr. Covey’s exhortation to Begin With the End in Mind has helped me draw connections between my competitive career and my burgeoning professional career.  Applying visualization practice is more than possible – it is vital to attaining what I deem success in my personal life.

 Dr. Covey ends his explanation of Habit 2 with the concept of personal mission statement – encouraging readers to create a statement that governs the way you will and do live your life. Like many, I’m sure, I have heard this idea before and thought it was a good idea, but never actually taken the time to sit down and write my own. I was inspired by this experience to create my personal mission statement should be:

 Never stop learning. Do not make excuses. Turn weaknesses into strengths. Listen first, then speak. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Do what you can for those in need. Concentrate on the present. Embrace mistakes and learn from them. Don’t spend time doing anything you won’t be proud of later.

 As I continue to read through The 7 Habits, I pose the following challenge to myself: whenever the book suggests I take time to do something like write down my personal mission statement, my center or any other activity, I will ignore my impulse to think briefly about it for a minute and move on, and rather actually take the time to do the actions it asks me to do. I believe if I am able to follow through with this, my experience with this book will be much more rewarding. As I transition from college to my adult and professional life, I appreciate the encouragement to begin to visualize the end that I will keep in mind. 

 FranklinCovey recently added their courses to OpenSesame, global elearning marketplace where Nick Gipe is a content developer. Nick is a sophomore at Johns Hopkins University where he is studying applied mathematics and is a member of the men’s varsity swim team.

Guest Post: Being Proactive Changes More Than Just Yourself

Friday, June 29th, 2012 | FranklinCovey News | 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 post from Sunny Zhang, an intern at OpenSesame about her experience reading the book.

 There are a lot of habits that people understand are good but rarely do. “Put first things first!” “Sharpen the saw!” “Be proactive!” We hear this advice, and we want to make a change, but we find it hard to start. For example, what exactly are “first things” to put first? Which “saw” should I sharpen to most effectively do my job?

 These are the questions I ask myself as I read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Those questions are really hard to answer, but as I evaluate the successful people I know, what differentiates them is their ability to be proactive – Habit 1 in Stephen R. Covey’s essential series of recommendations for changing your life. Proactivity is the key to the door of success.  

 In mainland China where I was born, there are significantly fewer opportunities to create change. People are pushed by the rapidly developing society while at the same time being restricted by culture. You find hard-working people everywhere, but very few of them are following paths that they’ve chosen for themselves. In such a society, being proactive is limited to the circumstances people can control within a dictated path. In that case, “be proactive” sounds more like “study longer hours to get a better grade” or “do everything you can to make your boss like you”. Even when people are hardworking and diligent, only very few people achieve the quality of life they imagine. One can’t help but wonder:

 In cases where the odds appear to be against you, is it meaningful to continue to be proactive?

 The answer is yes. Especially in restricted societies, a deep commitment to proactivity is the only way to achieve meaningful change.

 It’s not easy to keep focusing inside yourself when the outside circumstances are limiting and difficult. But deciding to focus on what you can do to change your life is incredibly empowering.  makes a difference. No matter what the situation is, holding a positive attitude, learning something new and acting on these insights will lead you to a whole new level.

The people who effectively lead change within themselves are equipped to survive and thrive in hard situations. Instead of complaining and blaming others, proactive people hold fast to their values and do the right thing in a smart way. Even in China, although there is relatively limited space for individuals to pursue what they want, a small portion of people succeed as a result of being “super proactive”.

 As I read The 7 Habits, I challenge myself to look deeply at what I can improve, and I set new goals for myself: To resist the cultural pressure to follow a predetermined path and instead make a different choice – to set a path for myself. To remember that there are always factors I can control, even if it’s only my reaction to the pressures I face. 

Whatever the environment is, a proactive person is more likely to succeed than a reactive person. This habit number one – ‘be proactive’ – has the potential to not only change individuals, but to change societies. I hope I will lead the way in my society with my new motto: Things will get better when more people stop complaining and start solving the problems.

 FranklinCovey recently added their courses to OpenSesame, global elearning marketplace, where Sunny Zhang is a marketing intern. She is an experienced event planner and nonprofit organization manager.

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.  

 

It’s time to start thinking differently about learning

Monday, January 2nd, 2012 | FranklinCovey News, Online Learning | No Comments

We recently saw a tweet come across our learning lab that read, “Reading one good books makes you a lot smarter than skimming over 3,000 RSS feeds. (via @gapingvoid).”

While on the surface this comment makes logical sense and rings true to everything we have always been taught. Beware! Things are changing. Books are by no means the only source of credible information anymore. Relevant and proven learning fragments can also be accessed online. And RSS feeds are just one learning strategy you can engage to make that information come to you.

So, in answer to this tweet we simply state, it depends. Read more

Authors: Matt Murdoch and Treion Muller

Click here to follow Matt and Treion on Twitter.

Learn more about their book The Learning eXPLOSION at: http://thelearningexplosion.blogspot.com

How To Increase Your Professional Online Presence (POP)

Friday, December 30th, 2011 | FranklinCovey News, Online Learning | 1 Comment

Just recently we were asked for interviewing tips by two separate individuals. On further review neither had much of a Professional Online Presence (POP). In today’s competitive and technologically savvy world having a POP is essential. There is so much a potential employer can learn about candidates, and so much opportunities for candidates to share about their qualifications and skills. So, think of this short post as a beginners guide to creating an effective POP.

A good place to start would be with LinkedIn. Get as many people as you can, preferably people who you have worked with, to recommend you, and write a positive review. Then join some relevant groups, and enquire about jobs, and look for job postings. Read more

Authors: Matt Murdoch and Treion Muller

Click here to follow Matt and Treion on Twitter.

Learn more about their book The Learning eXPLOSION at: http://thelearningexplosion.blogspot.com

What GoldiLocks Can Teach Us About Learning

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 | FranklinCovey News, Online Learning | No Comments

In the fable of Goldilocks and the Three Bears we learn about a young girl who wants everything “just right.” Throughout the story she is faced with several choices, which she tests and tries, and eventually  settles on the choices that are right for her. Does this sound familiar?

This Goldilocks Principle is how people are choosing to learn. With the Learning Explosion taking place all around us we too are faced with an endless array of learning choices. If we want to learn about ferrofluid, we can Google it, view a informative video on YouTube, read a book on it, or attend a live or virtual classroom. Like Goldilocks we can find information that is just right for our specific needs. If we don’t need the entire history of ferrofluid we don’t have to have it force fed to us in a hour long classroom. Read more

Authors: Matt Murdoch and Treion Muller

Click here to follow Matt and Treion on Twitter.

Learn more about their book The Learning eXPLOSION at: http://thelearningexplosion.blogspot.com

Be Patient With Technology

Friday, December 23rd, 2011 | FranklinCovey News, Online Learning | No Comments

We recently heard Elliott Masie speak at his conference.  Over and over he hammered the concept of affordances.  
Masie states, “The word ‘affordance’ does not refer to the cost of technology; rather it means the additional or changed capability that a technology offers for learning. For example, voice recognition technology is getting better by the year and was just announced as part of the iPhone 4S. But what affordances, or learning capabilities, might it provide for each of these groups.” Read more

Authors: Matt Murdoch and Treion Muller

Click here to follow Matt and Treion on Twitter.

Learn more about their book The Learning eXPLOSION at: http://thelearningexplosion.blogspot.com

3 Principles Learning Professionals Should Steal From Advertisers

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011 | FranklinCovey News, Online Learning | No Comments

One of the simplest concepts in any marketing or advertising strategy are the 3 M’s: Market, Message, Media.

When you are trying to communicate to another person, or group of people — whether it’s in a corporate training situation or in advertising — consider these three key elements to get your point across.

1. Market: You need to know to whom you are speaking.  Who are they? What are their interests? What is their background? What are their problems you can solve? Learn as much about them as possible before you even begin to develop your training workshop. You don’t want to get 80% of the way through development and realize you’ve missed the key needs of your learners. Read more

Authors: Matt Murdoch and Treion Muller

Click here to follow Matt and Treion on Twitter.

Learn more about their book The Learning eXPLOSION at: http://thelearningexplosion.blogspot.com

To learn: Just add water.

Monday, December 19th, 2011 | FranklinCovey News, Online Learning | No Comments

We live in a compressed world.  Everything around us seems so tightly wound or packed so tightly that it’s hard to see how it can make a difference. Is there anything in that tightly packed wrapper? Perhaps you’ve seen your kids delight when they place a “magic capsule” in water and it expands into a sponge animal or dinosaur.

In a very real sense, this is one way learning is being delivered. Consider Twitter for instance. 140 characters. What can you do with that? (By the way this paragraph was 140 characters!) Read more

Authors: Matt Murdoch and Treion Muller

Click here to follow Matt and Treion on Twitter.

Learn more about their book The Learning eXPLOSION at: http://thelearningexplosion.blogspot.com