The Definition of Effectiveness
Discuss about the Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
To be an effective individual, it is important to carry oneself with a sense of direction and drive. Traveling without having an idea of where we are headed may end up in undesired destinations. However, when there are individual targets which govern our daily steps in whichever line of profession we are in, moving becomes more sensible. Goals are essential for success and tacit goals in addition to our innate abilities to achieve them are a true definition of effectiveness. Has always been a big fan of Covey and his books. This got even better when it emerged that the book to be read was touching on effectiveness. I raised the expectations and gave me the right push to use an open minded approach to the author’s arguments in his bid to define effectiveness and the ways of achieving them.
Covey’s introduction is substantial and gives the reader clear picture of what to expect in the book. Without necessarily being obvious about the core themes in the book right from the beginning, the step by step description of his main components gives the book a good flow. The flow of concepts in addition to the use of relevant real life experiences makes the ideas and values driven by the author easy to understand. The informative aspect of the book, from my point of view, starts right from the author’s definition of the term effectiveness. He smartly deviates from the formal and traditional description of effectiveness and gives it a new touch by not only linking it to the concept of goals but also on what aids the achievement of these goals. The more conventional idea of effectiveness is the ability to achieve the desired results within a given period of time. Covey’s definition is rather expansive and embraced a variety of concepts. I find this quite informative and eye opening. My view on effectiveness changes as soon as I begin reading the book. A good number of my initial thoughts are eventually altered by Covey’s rather convincing school of thought.
The author’s use of the fable of the goose that laid the golden eggs is a timely insertion in a bid to emphasize to the readers the need to take care of what leads to good results rather than the results themselves. Many at times, individuals focus more on the results rather than procedures which lead to the achievement of these results. That is why a boss is likely to breathe fire down the employees’ necks when they fail to meet the deadlines and achieve specific targets without necessary digging the possible cause of such a scenario. A manager who remains overly concerned with the results at the expense of the experiences of his employees is likely to lose out on the crucial mark of effectiveness. Covey’s thoughts on this concept offer the readers a better understanding of the crucial place for employee satisfaction at the place of work. This is because the people who take part in the various processes within an organization are the very individuals directly associated the final outcome. When the right quality standards are observed during these procedures, the end results are likely to be good. When the procedures are inefficient, poor results are likely to be obtained. This argument is therefore insightful such that as an aspiring leader, I have noted the areas to lay more force on in order to obtain the desired results.
The Golden Eggs Fable
It is interesting to note the nature of operations in most organizations in the corporate arena currently. Once the best has been drawn from an individual, say, a successful project is implemented and good outcome experienced, the essence of continuity dies and the management may choose to concentrate on the good that the new project has brought to the organization. This may happen at the expense of those who actually pioneered the idea and oversaw its implementation. Covey’s position on effectiveness in this case has allowed me to gain more insight on the need for enhancing the sustainability of an idea instead of overly concentrating on short term targets.
The transition from the introduction in the main arguments in the book is seamless. A reader is lost in the attractive ideologies put forward by the author which revolve around the books title. Even before one begins to interact with the habits which make individuals highly effective, the introductory phase is already convincing enough that the book was a sure choice for the reading. I have never been a keen follower of mathematically presentations of concepts but Covey’s P/PC ration concept has been outlined so vividly that anybody going through the book for the first time would quickly grasp the author’s line of thought. The ration provides a perfect summary to the definition of effectiveness since P stands for the desired goals and PC is related to caring for the desired goals. From a rather informal point of view, PC appearing as a denominator to P is symbolic of the support that the later obtains from the former. The expression from one point of view indicates that without PC, P lacks the necessary foundations and is therefore likely to fall with a thud. This therefore implies that the more PC is enhanced, P remains at its all time best hence enhancing the continuity in the achievement of the desired results. From a mathematical point of view, P divided by PC gives a ratio (constant) which implies that P is directly proportional to PC. The fact that P, which stands for the desired results and PC which stands for caring for what produces the results are directly related, an increase in one leads to a corresponding increase in the other. Using Covey’s simple ratio, I can therefore deduce that the surest way of enhancing the consistency of good results in any professional line of duty is by taking good care of what leads to the achievement of these results.
Sustainability of Ideas
Covey interestingly highlights the aspect of values and principles as equally pivotal elements which both have a direct impact on the effectiveness of an individual. While values are more concerned with my personal attributes, the principles however define the external environment which finally determines the outcomes. I have always viewed effectiveness in terms of developing my own values, strengths and skills in my professional. Covey however offers another side of the coin by bringing in the concept of principles which majorly involve the external environment which must also be considered in order to achieve holistically. The book makes it open to the reader that success in leadership and management may not only be a function of individual attributes but also a good consideration and incorporation of other external factors which all play a crucial role in enhancing positive results. For instance, in case of language barrier in an organization due to a multicultural work environment, the full potential and effectiveness of specialists may not be achieved as a result of this external obstacle. The best approach in this case would be to work out ways to un do the barrier and hence ensure that knowledge within the organization is effectively disseminated and efficiently transmitted to each member of the organization. Through this approach, the access to other people’s strengths shall have enhanced which in turn leads to effectiveness. From Covey’s position on personal values and external principals, it can be deduced that a crucial balance between the two would enhance effectiveness in comparison to overreliance on one aspect.
The author’s in-depth description of the seven habits is not only educative but also informative. The fact that each chapter has been dedicated to one habit implies that the reader has an extensive view of the author’s ideas while outlining the habits. Through the author’s vivid explorations of each of the habits, I managed to derive the fact that people can be focused on the same thing but still disagree on views. This brings to light the aspect of team dynamics which is a pivotal element when it comes to effectiveness. There is the inevitable need to go out my way to try view the outcome or the concept under discussion from another person’s point of view. This creates flexibility which is an important value capable of ensuring proper outcomes especially in group endeavors.
The analysis of the habits offered an effective rubric against which I could gauge my position and values not only as a professional but also as a leader. I agree with the author’s position on being proactive as this instills self belief, confidence and the ability to remain independent. From these arguments, it can be established that standing by our values and expanding on our personal skills is as important as embracing team work. One can learn a new trick here, that being effective especially in team operations starts from individual capabilities which can then be explored to achieve the desired results.
The 7 Habits
While going through the second habit, I must admit that the author got me right there. This is because my approach to success has mainly been based on current achievements and not necessarily the final outcome. The book has helped me keep the focus on the end rather than on the beginning. Having an idea of what I would like to achieve in the days to come would be important in helping me come up with the right strategies to achieve this target. Covey’s thoughts in the subsequent chapters are quite insightful in helping an individual stay organized in a bid to achieve the best. It is important to put the first things first, note the urgent components and address them with the necessary speed. There are those aspects that may not be important but are actually urgent and these equally require the right attention. The author’s outline of these concepts enables one to note the core elements of leadership and management that enhance the best results.
Having read the book, in addition to the insights gained, there are a number of aspects I would like to change on in a bid to enhance effectiveness. To begin with, I need to change my attitude towards team work apart from developing effective skills on team dynamics. I have always employed a rather centralized point of view when approaching issues but the book has enabled to learn that obtaining and respecting other people’s opinions on a piece of discussion is itself a strength and not necessarily a weakness. Being open and flexible minimizes strains in relationship between people in organizations hence the need to embrace such values. Secondly, I would like to focus on continues development and empowering myself I specific areas where my skills are inadequate or ineffective. Aligning myself to the organizational targets shall be important in enabling me to develop the right strategies which would ensure the achievement of these targets. In order to stay relevant in the dynamic corporate arena, the book points out the need for individual exposure to order to create sustainability and competition levels. I also intend to develop on the author’s additional habit in the subsequent chapters of the book. In addition to hearing my own voice, I also intend to help others hear theirs. This implies that apart from improving my skills and approaches to leadership, I equally need to empower those around me in order to build a strong team of high achievers.
In conclusion, it can be reiterated that Covey’s book on the habits of highly effective people is not only informative but also quite insightful on a number of fonts. The book offers a wider description of the concept of effectiveness. A reader interacting with it for the first time is likely to gain more than they could have bargained for. This is because the author has discussed the books core elements extensively by dedicating chapters to specific habits. The arrangement of ideas is equally comprehensive hence making the discussions easy to follow. The insights obtained from the book can be crucial in helping an individual become more effective in their respective professions.
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