Thursday, October 13, 2005

Inside Ace 2

The 7 habits of highly effective people is probably one of the most influential books of ALL-TIME. Stephen R. Covey, the author, has been invited to speak at the whitehouse AND on the Oprah Winfrey show. (sorry)

What Stephen has managed to do in his works , The 7 Habits, First things first, and Principal centered leadership is teach that accountability is the key to success. He's discovered, that principals rule our lives. Universal principals. Such as "The customer is always right" or " Treat others the way you would like to be treated". (or even better, treat them the way they want to be treated)

An even better example of universal principals is the acknowledgment of true north. We can't vote on true north (not getting technical over magnetic north) we can't change the location of true north. True north simply exists for our guidance and direction.

ON a more pragmatic scale, we have the rule of the farm, and the rule of the classroom.

The rule of the classroom concerns us with how to get a grade, pass the course, and move on in life. In College, you can show up to the first class, find out how the professor grades. Is it on attendance? If so, do I really need to buy the book? Is it strictly on test scores? If so, do I really need to come to class? The Bottom line is; I can figure our a shortcut to get the grade I need to pass the class. But in doing so, I have deprived myself an education.

The rule of the farm concerns the principals of farming. In farming there are very few in any shortcuts at all. You can't just scratch the surface of the dirt in August, throw a few seeds out, then expect to harvest a huge crop in September. And such is how College should be. (The crop being compared to an education) We need to be attentive, (sew seeds) we need to do our home studies (weed, water and fertilize) Then we need to reap the fruits of our succes at test time (Harvest).

Cutting corners almost always leads to error or deminished results. Yet corner cutting is often surpassed by empowering your people. The minds of the masses can often create a better way to do business than the mind of the owner or his VP.

I could go on forever on Stephen's Teachings but I'll leave you with his 5th habit.

"Seek first to understand; THEN to be understood"

Meaning: When you are communcating; listen to the other person until you are at the point where THEY are convinced that you understand them. Go so far as to repeat their point back to them. (How many times does a woman say to her husband "You never listen to me"? This would never happen if the 5th habit is used.) Then make your point. The deepest form of desire in a human is to be understood. In Stephen's audio book "Beyond the 7 habits", he talks about the Indian Talking Stick.

The leaders of the Indian Nation would sit in conference and the only person that could talk; was the person holding the "Talking Stick". And it was his responsibility NOT to give up the talking stick until he felt that the opposition understood his POV.

So many times what we call communication is simply a "Collective monologue".

What Stephen teaches is nothing new. He says we already know what we should do it's "common sense" But "Common Sense" is rarely "Common Pratice".


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