The ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ 30 years on
Stephen R. Covey's ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ was named the most influential business book of the 20th century, selling more than 40 million copies in 50-plus languages. 30 years after it was published, it is worth re-visiting these simple and effective habits:
- Be proactive: people are responsible for their own choices and have the freedom to choose in accord with their principles and values rather than moods or conditions.
- Begin with the end in mind: effective people shape their own future by creating a mental vision and purpose for their life, week, day, and any project, large or small.
- Put first things first: effective people organize and execute around their most important priorities, they're driven by purpose, not by agendas and forces surrounding them.
- Think win-win: effective people don't think selfishly (win-lose) or like a martyr (lose-win).
- Seek first to understand, and then to be understood: seek first to listen with the intent to understand the thoughts and feelings of others, and then seek to effectively communicate your own thoughts and feelings.
- Synergize: celebrate and thrive on the strengths of others, so by respecting and valuing others' differences, the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts.
- Sharpen the saw: effective people renew themselves regularly in four areas: body (physical), mind (mental), heart (social/emotional) and spirit (meaning and contribution).
The data-driven mindset
We all like to think data informs key commercial decisions. After all, the resources to do so are at hand: the amount of digital data is expected to reach 44 zettabytes in 2020, laptops have roughly 30 times more computing power than a decade ago and cloud computing usage is set to double in the next two years.
Still, something is holding businesses back. Too many continue to base their decisions on limited data, selectively interpreted to support management’s instincts or ambitions. It’s time for a new mindset, one that challenges old decision-making habits by continually asking:
- Are we making the most of the opportunities that data allows?
- Are we analysing all of the most important and relevant data that can inform decisions?
- Are we acting on the insights we generate?
If you do these three things, you lead better than most managers
To illustrate what good leadership looks like three executives share some key habits that produce results.
- Lead with a learning mindset
- Lead with a positive mindset
- Lead with a community mindset
Taking remote collaboration to the next level
Necessity has accelerated the adoption of digital tools, which when used thoughtfully, improve productivity and performance.
Now, as leaders look to the future, it is time to take remote collaboration to the next level. Co-creation involves people working together simultaneously toward shared outputs and outcomes.
Facilitating a process by which large groups collaboratively define, design, and achieve shared outcomes is not easy. The following three ingredients can help business leaders put this into practice:
- Purposeful design: start with the end in mind. From the outset, remote working sessions must be guided by relentless focus on desired outputs and outcomes from senior sponsors.
- A connected environment: remote co-creation requires seamless connection to shared virtual workspaces and tools. A video conferencing platform with breakout functionality is just the foundation. With supplementary tools, it’s possible for people to explore insights, crowd-source ideas, co-design, make informed decisions, monitor progress, and coordinate work. A wide range of fit-for-purpose applications already exists that can be connected into a single, secure user experience.
- The power of people: like any live performance, it takes a dedicated team behind the scenes to deliver a productive, engaging experience. A multi-disciplinary team with design, facilitation, creative, and digital expertise can help manage the process and environment, allowing participants to dedicate their full focus to the work at hand.