Personal Leadership ; Article 2 in a series

2015-08-01 by Robert Pettersson

Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind
To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you’re going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction.

Dr. Covey presents the idea of a personal mission statement as an effective way to begin with the end in mind. It focuses on what you want to be (character) and do (contributions and achievements) and on values or principles which being and doing are based.

A personal mission statement is exactly that, personal, unique to each individual. The personal mission statement should be a reflection of your own core principles and beliefs.

In my daily life I do my utmost to live up to the values and principles of my personal mission statement. A printed copy of my personal mission statement can always be found in my office, clearly visible to everybody who visit my office.

My personal mission statement:
– Find what I love, don’t settle.
– Never impose on others what I would not choose for myself.
– Remember the people involved.
– Don’t put off till tomorrow what I can do today.
– Concentrate all abilities and efforts on the task at hand, not worrying about the next job or promotion.
– Plan tomorrow’s work today.
– Hustle while I wait.
– Listen twice as much as I speak.
– Hear both sides before judging.
– Defend those who are absent.
– Maintain a positive attitude.

Habit 3: Put first things first.
Putting first things first is all about managing your time and making sure you are always doing what is best and most effective to achieve your long term goals.

Dr. Covey introduces a time management matrix split into four quadrants.

The two factors to consider are importance and urgency.

Importance signifies if the activity directly contributes to your mission, to your values and your most important goals.

Urgency signifies whether or not the activity requires our immediate attention. This could for example be an incoming telephone or Skype call. Urgent issues are usually very visible and insist on action. Solving urgent issues can usually be pleasant and satisfying, but unfortunately are often unimportant.

Quadrant 1: Things which are both important and urgent.

Quadrant 2: Things which are important and not urgent.

Quadrant 3: Things which are not important but urgent.

Quadrant 4: Things which are both not important and not urgent.

Truly effective people stay out of Quadrant 3 and Quadrant 4 since they are not important. Focus is instead put on Quadrant 1 and Quadrant 2.

The more time you can put in Quadrant 2, the less items will end up in Quadrant 1.

Habit 4: Think Win-Win.
Win-Win is a frame of mind that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions. It means that agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial and mutually satisfying. With a Win-Win solution, all involved parties feel good about the decision and feel committed to the solution.

An important aspect to Win-Win is what Dr. Covey calls the Abundance Mentality. This is the idea that there is plenty of resources out there for everybody to share. It results in sharing of prestige, recognition, profits, decision making and more.

The opposite to the Abundance Mentality is the Scarcity Mentality where the view is that there is only a limited amount of resources available. With the Scarcity Mentality more for you means less for me. People with a Scarcity Mentality have a very hard time to share recognition, credit, power and profit.

Habit 5: Seek first to understand.
Dr. Covey presents this as the most important aspect of interpersonal relationships. A person should first seek to understand the other person and only then try to be understood.

Typically most people first seek to be understood. They listen not with the intent to truly understand, instead they listen with the intent of replying. People have a tendency to rush in and try to fix things by offering good advice. As in the case of a doctor diagnosing a patient, a proper understanding of the patient and his condition must be achieved before any proper diagnosis can be made.

The 4 basic ways of communication are:

Reading
Writing
Speaking
Listening
Traditional education has a strong emphasis on the first 3 ways of communication. Countless hours are spent learning how to express ourselves properly. However empathic and active listening is key to truly effective communication.