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In order to manage ourselves effectively, we must put first things first. We must have the discipline to prioritize our day-to-day actions based on what is most important, not what is most urgent.
In order to maintain the discipline and the focus to stay on track toward our goals, we need to have the willpower to do something when we don't want to do it. We need to act according to our values rather than our desires or impulses at any given moment.
We're in charge. We choose the scripts by which to live our lives. Use this self-awareness to be proactive and take responsibility for your choices. Reactive people take a passive stance -- they believe the world is happening to them. They say things like:
"There's nothing I can do."
"That's just the way I am."
Proactive people, however, recognize they have responsibility or "response-ability," which Covey defines as the ability to choose how you will respond to a given stimulus or situation.
Beginning with the end in mind is also extremely important for businesses.
Being a manager is about optimizing for efficiency. But being a leader is about setting the right strategic vision for your organization in the first place, and asking, "What are we trying to accomplish?"
Before we as individuals or organizations can start setting and achieving goals, we must be able to identify our values. This process may involve some rescripting to be able to assert our own personal values.
The best option is to create Win-Win situations. With Win-Lose, or Lose-Win, one person appears to get what he wants for the moment, but the results will negatively impact the relationship between those two people going forward.
The Win-Win or No Deal option is important to use as a backup. When we have No Deal as an option in our mind, it liberates us from needing to manipulate people and push our own agenda. We can be open and really try to understand the underlying issues.
To be effective, we must devote the time to renewing ourselves physically, spiritually, mentally, and socially. Continuous renewal allows us to synergistically increase our ability to practice each habit.
Renewal is the process that empowers us to move along an upward spiral of growth and change, of continuous improvement.
Before we can offer advice, suggest solutions, or effectively interact with another person in any way, we must seek to deeply understand them and their perspective through empathic listening.
To listen empathically requires a fundamental paradigm shift. We typically seek first to be understood. Most people listen with the intent to reply, not to understand. At any given moment, they're either speaking or preparing to speak.
By understanding and valuing the differences in another person's perspective, we have the opportunity to create synergy, which allows us to uncover new possibilities through openness and creativity.
Once you have these in mind, you can pool your desires with those of the other person or group. And then you're not on opposite sides of the problem -- you're together on one side, looking at the problem, understanding all the needs, and working to create a third alternative that will meet them.
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