In yesterday’s June Ho‘ohana I mentioned my “late May mind map” which kept me branching into the teaching of both Stephen Covey and David Allen. This is a bit more on that in explanation.
I remember the early 1990’s as the time in my management career I was enamored of Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I can still tell you verbatim and by heart what those 7 Habits are. (I’ll list them for you at the end.)
I first learned them when I was part of the opening team of the first Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Hawaii, and back then The Ritz-Carlton had completely bought in to TQM (Total Quality Management). Learning and internalizing Covey’s 7 Habits were required of all managers, for our leaders fervently believed that doing so would help us be successful.
I took a 7 Day course the Covey organization had customized for all Ritz-Carlton managers, and the big green binder I took from it is one I still refer to often for my own highlights, notes, and interpretations in the margins. It has gotten pretty dog-eared, because Covey taught timeless principles.
We (The Ritz-Carlton) were an organization obsessed with delivering quality to our customers, and we embarked on a journey that would gain our company the distinction of being the 1992 winner of the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award, the first time the award had ever been given to a hotel company. In 1999 The Ritz-Carlton won it for a second time, the only American service company to do so.
The Ritz-Carlton is still obsessed with quality and with those 7 Habits, and I believe that’s why they are still so consistently good.
My own belief in Covey’s 7 Habits has never left me either. Those habits have been part of my managing and coaching arsenal ever since. For example, when I talk about ‘Imi ola, and seeking your best possible life, urging people to “Begin with the End in Mind” helps them visualize better. Covey wanted us to be highly effective as people, not just at work.
In the past few weeks I’ve been thinking of Covey’s Habits again as I’ve read David Allen’s Getting Things Done, and I like the way they seem to synchronize. Both Allen and Covey talk about proactivity, which Covey called “the power to choose our own responses.” I can still remember this Covey quote sitting in residence in big bold letters across the top of a bulletin board in our Ritz-Carlton employee cafeteria:
“Urgency is the hangover from a reactivity binge, which comes from ignoring values.”
Any clearer why I may be a bit hung up on values? We are our values, however we are not our habits. Using Covey’s words,
“You can make and break your habits. You need not be a victim of conditions or conditioning ” habits of effectiveness can be learned; habits of ineffectiveness, unlearned.”
I had learned that Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits are based upon the timeless principle called the Law of the Harvest: we tend to reap what we sow. “Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny,” the maxim goes.
What David Allen has been so effective in doing in his book for me thus far (I’m into my second, slower reading now) is cement the action part of this into my head, so I keep asking myself with each task that presents itself, “Is it actionable?” I like Covey’s connection as the next one, asking myself as I implement, “Is this a habit I want to keep?” knowing it potentially can reap the character builder of my destiny.
Here’s the refresher I promised so you need not look them up:
Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Habit 1, Be Proactive, is the Habit of Personal Vision.
Habit 2, Begin with the End in Mind, is the Habit of Personal Leadership.
Habit 3, Put First Things First, is the Habit of Personal Management.
Habit 4, Think Win-Win, is the Habit of Interpersonal Leadership.
Habit 5, Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood, is the Habit of Communciation.
Habit 6, Synergize, is the Habit of Creative Cooperation.
Habit 7, Sharpen the Saw, is the Habit of Self-Renewal.
Footnote: All links updated for 2010 on Feb.21st, as a link-back follow-up to a newly written posting here titled, Weekend Project: Hō‘imi your Trusted System. Excerpt:
I still refer to GTD often and with confidence, for there is a wealth of productivity “stuff” to be learned from David Allen, who amuses me in the way he will repeatedly say,
“I’m lazy and I don’t want to think about anything more than it deserves.”
How’s that for a statement perfectly in tune with weekend living?