Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is essential reading for anyone who wants to reach the top of their respective fields.
We’ve come up with seven ways you can put the 7 Habits into effect in your business today.
- Be proactive
Change your language
Proactivity starts with the words you speak. If you’re positive, then you speak in positive terms. Bosses don’t like people who bring them problems, they like people who bring them solutions. Here’s a helpful chart to give you a start:
- Begin with the end in mind
Design clear outcomes for your meetings
We’ve all been there: meetings put in the diary for a specific purpose, but which quickly go off in tangents. Before you know it, you’ve got a list of actions against your name, none of which address the purpose of the meeting. Be very specific about your desired meeting outcomes when you put a meeting in the diary. Over time, you can start demanding it of others too.
- Put first things first
This isn’t just about doing the first thing on the list. It’s about making the right list in the first place. Prioritisation is one of the most important skills anyone can have. Do your most important tasks (MITs) first. If you’re not sure what these are, have a conversation with your boss.
- Think win-win
Covey says that the traditional sales model is about gaining as much as you can whilst giving away as little as possible. However, if you adopt this mentality, you probably won’t sell much. In fact, it’s not a great approach to life in general. You’ll find you’re much more persuasive if there’s a clear incentive for someone else to cooperate with you. Dale Carnegie is a great read for working out how to do this in every day life.
- Seek first to understand, then to be understood
This means developing that skill that is sadly lacking in a lot of people: listening. Despite what you see on The Apprentice, you won’t succeed in business if your only trick is shouting as loud as you can across everyone else.
In all of our businesses, we look to understand our customers rather than force our products down their throat. In fact, Advantage Accreditation is all about building the product around the customer!
This is business-speak for teamwork. A business, like any organisation, is the sum of its parts. You can help this by improving your cooperation with colleagues. Work on your emotional intelligence skills to help you understand your colleagues and the best way to work with them.
- Sharpen the Saw
Josh Kaufman in The Personal MBA recommends creating a budget for personal development, including setting up a direct debit into a separate savings account. You can then use this money to fund buying books or going on training courses. Although this is a great idea, we prefer to recommend creating a ‘time budget’. Set aside time each week for developing your skills, whether it’s reading a book or a free online business blog.