From the Publisher
The late Skip LeFauve President, Saturn Corporation/General Motors Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People played a major role in the development of Saturn's operating systems and philosophy. Our commitment to quality and to our customers has its roots in The 7 Habits.
Ken M. Radziwanowski AT&T School of Business Picture someone going through the best experience they've ever had in terms of training -- that's what they say. People credit the 7 Habits with changing their lives, with getting back on track personally and professionally.
While Covey's book is perhaps not as explicitly spiritual as some self-help titles, his emphasis on character and values reveals his Church of Latter-day Saints background very powerfully; interested readers may want to go on to his 8th Habit or The Leader in Me.
Despite having sold many millions of copies, Stephen Covey's groundbreaking book remains as fresh, helpful, and important as when it was first published. Such longevity is a testament to the quality of the insights that Covey offers: Eschewing easy fixes and simple-minded formulas, his writings offers a comprehensive and highly detailed program for invigorating your career as well as other aspects of life. You won't be able to breeze through this book (the writing is sometimes complex and involved), and you won't be able to apply Covey's ideas half-heartedly (the vision outlined requires serious effort to realize), but if you're willing to do the work, you'll reap the enormous benefits that many other readers have discovered and put into action.
“Every so often a book comes along that not only alters the lives of readers but leaves an imprint on the culture itself. The 7 Habits is one of those books.”
author of On Becoming a Leader and Still Surprised - Warren Bennis
“Covey’s masterpiece, if it hasn’t changed the world, has influenced millions of readers who can and will make our planet more peaceful and prosperous and prepared and purposeful.”
“Happily, this book has advised and encouraged us for 25 years. Now, I encourage us to be loyal and supportive for another 25 years.”
New York times bestselling author of Delivering Happiness and CEO of Zappos.com, Inc. - Tony Hsieh
“The 7 Habits encompasses timeless principles that can help guide any company toward success.”
“The 7 Habits has guided many of us on our journey through the world of business. Simple but incredibly effective. A great guide for any aspiring leader!”
“No person lasts forever, but books and ideas can endure. Stephen R. Covey’s life is done, but his work is not. It continues, right here in this book as alive today as when first written.”
“Twenty-five years after it first appeared, the wisdom of The 7 Habits is more relevant than ever. On an individual level, people are burning out, and on a collective level we are burning up the planet. So Dr. Covey’s emphasis on self-renewal and his understanding that leadership and creativity require us to tap into our own physical, mental, and spiritual resources are exactly what we need now.”
author of Unlimited Power and Awaken the Giant Within - Anthony Robbins
“Fundamentals are the key to success. Stephen Covey is a master of them. Buy his book, but most important, use it!”
“As the seminal work of Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has influenced millions around the world to be their best selves at work and at home. It stands the test of time as one of the most important books of our time.”
author of The Key is Love: My Mother’s Wisdom, A Daughter’s Gratitude - Marie Osmond
“With all the responsibilities and demands of time, travel, work, and families placed upon us in today’s competitive world, it’s a pig plus to have Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to refer to.”
Read an Excerpt
Habit 4: Think Win/Win
...When a boss becomes the first assistant to each of his subordinates, he can greatly increase his span of control. Entire levels of administration and overhead can be eliminated. Instead of supervising six or eight, such a manager can supervise twenty, thirty, fifty, or more.
In Win/Win performance agreements, consequences become the natural or logical result of performance rather than a reward or punishment arbitrarily handed out by the person in charge.
There are basically four kinds of consequences (rewards and penalties) that management or parents can control-financial, psychic, opportunity, and responsibility. Financial consequences include such things as income, stock options, allowances, or penalties. Psychic or psychological consequences include recognition, approval, respect, credibility, or the loss of them. Unless people are in a survival mode, psychic compensation is often more motivating than financial compensation. Opportunity includes training, development, perks, and other benefits. Responsibility has to do with scope and authority, either of which can be enlarged or diminished. Win/Win agreements specify consequences in one or more of those areas and the people involved know it up front. So you don't play games. Everything is clear from the beginning.
In addition to these logical, personal consequences, it is also important to clearly identify what the natural organizational consequences are. For example, what will happen if I'm late to work, if I refuse to cooperate with others, if I don't develop good Win/Win performance agreements with my subordinates, if I don't hold them accountable for desired results, or if I don't promote their professional growth and career development?
When my daughter turned 16, we set up a Win/Win agreement regarding use of the family car. We agreed that she would obey the laws of the land and that she would keep the car clean and properly maintained. We agreed that she would use the car only for responsible purposes and would serve as a cab driver for her mother and me within reason. And we also agreed that she would do all her other jobs cheerfully without being reminded. These were our wins.
We also agreed that I would provide some resources-the car, gas, and insurance. And we agreed that she would meet weekly with me, usually on Sunday afternoon, to evaluate how she was doing based on our agreement. The consequences were clear. As long as she kept her part of the agreement, she could use the car. If she didn't keep it, she would lose the privilege until she decided to.
This Win/Win agreement set up clear expectations from the beginning on both our parts. It was a win for her-she got to use the car-and it was certainly a win for Sandra and me. Now she could handle her own transportation needs and even some of ours' We didn't have to worry about maintaining the car or keeping it clean. And we had a built-in accountability, which meant I didn't have to hover over her or manage her methods. Her integrity, her conscience, her power of discernment and our high Emotional Bank Account managed her infinitely better. We didn't have to get emotionally strung out, trying to supervise her every move and coming up with punishments or rewards on the spot if she didn't do things the way we thought she should. We had a Win/Win agreement, and it liberated us all.
Win/Win agreements are tremendously liberating. But as the product of isolated techniques, they won't hold up. Even if you set them up in the beginning, there is no way to maintain them without personal integrity and a relationship of trust.
A true Win/Win agreement is the product of the paradigm, the character, and the relationships out of which it grows. In that context, it defines and directs the interdependent interaction for which it was created.
Win/Win can only survive in an organization when the systems support it. If you talk Win/Win but reward Win/Lose, you've got a losing program on your hands.
You basically get what you reward. If you want to achieve the goals and reflect the values in your mission statement, then you need to align the reward system with these goals and values. If it isn't aligned systemically, you won't be walking your talk. You'll be in the situation of the manager I mentioned earlier who talked cooperation but practiced competition by creating a "Race to Bermuda" contest.
I worked for several years with a very large real estate organization in the Middle West. My first experience with this organization was at a large sales rally where over 800 sales associates gathered for the annual reward program. It was a psych-up cheerleading session, complete with high school bands and a great deal of frenzied screaming.
Out of the 800 people there, around forty received awards for top performance, such as "Most Sales," "Greatest Volume," "Highest Earned Commissions," and "Most Listings." There was a lot of hoopla-excitement, cheering, applause-around the presentation of these awards. There was no doubt that those forty people had won; but there was also the underlying awareness that 760 people had lost.
We immediately began educational and organizational development work to align the systems and structures of the organization toward the Win/Win paradigm. We involved people at a grass roots level to develop the kinds of systems that would motivate them. We also encouraged them to cooperate and synergize with each other so that as many as possible could achieve the desired results of their individually tailored performance agreements.
At the next rally one year later, there were over 1,000 sales associates present, and about 800 of them received awards. There were a few individual winners based on comparisons, but the program primarily focused on people achieving self-selected performance objectives and on groups achieving team objectives. There was no need to bring in the high school bands to artificially contrive the fanfare, the cheerleading, and the psych up. There was tremendous natural interest and excitement because people could share in each other's happiness, and teams of sales associates could experience rewards together, including a vacation trip for the entire office.
The remarkable thing was that almost all of the 800 who received the awards that year had produced as much per person in terms of volume and profit as the previous year's forty. The spirit of Win/Win had significantly increased the number of golden eggs and had fed the goose as well, releasing enormous human energy and talent. The resulting synergy was astounding to almost everyone involved....