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7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Plus one!

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Plus one!

7 Habits of Highly Effective People is broadly recognised as one of the most influential books of its kind.

Few managers will not have heard of this inspirational best seller. In his seminal work, the late Stephen R. Covey presented a holistic, principle-centred approach to solving personal and professional problems.

The book details seven habits which together build an integrated approach to your personal development. Covey stepped away from emphasising self-help techniques and practices. Instead, he asked questions about principles, character and a deeper awareness of both self and others.

Covey expressed his approach as character-building habits. Not just thought-provoking, Covey’s book is packed with practical applications and tests, which we’ll all find valuable in both our personal and professional lives.

It’s well worth adding this self-development classic to your collection and working through the 7 habits for yourself.

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen R. Covey presents a holistic, integrated, principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems. With penetrating insights and pointed anecdotes, Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, service, and human dignity — principles that give us the security to adapt to change and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates.”(

What are the 7 Habits?

1 Be Proactive. Life doesn’t just happen, whether intentionally or not,the decisions we make shape the life we live.

2 Begin With the End in Mind. Do you know what you want to be/do? Imagine what it would be like. Make a conscious effort to visualise what you want to be and what you want to do in life.

3 Put First Things First. Build balance into what you do. Ensure that what you want is worked out in practice. That you do the things worth most to you first.

4 Think Win-Win. Consistently seek mutual benefit in what you do. Cultivate an abundance mentality – there is more for everyone.

5 Seek First to Understand. Communication is the most important skill in life. Seek to understand another person’s view first, in order to best put your view forward. To communicate well you must listen first.

6 Synergize. Bring together ideas, other people and their views. Do this properly and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

7 Sharpen the Saw. Take time out to ensure you are refreshed, renewed and equipped to contribute and live life to the full.

This classic book first came out in 1989. It’s often quoted and referred to, so if you haven’t read it you’ll almost certainly have heard about it. Why not take time out to read this book, or to listen to the audio version. Or, if you read the book some time ago, it may be time to re-read and re-discover. A good example of what Covey calls “sharpening the saw”!

The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness
7 Habits

Stephen Covey, 2010. (Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

Did Covey forget or miss a habit from his best selling book “7 Habits”? Well not exactly. The eighth habit is more a way to use the 7 habits to create something of significance. Covey believed there is a great yearning, in both individuals and organizations. A yearning to discover their true “voice,” to matter, to make a difference, to find greatness.

The 8th Habit can help you acquire a new mindset, and the tools, to help you find your voice and your passion. When you do that, you feel more fulfilled and engaged with the world around you and, consequently, with your role in that world. Our article Do What You Love echoes some of the emphasis and direction of “the 8th Habit”.

The 8th Habit is an ideal companion volume to the 7 habits, for anybody serious about making the most of their lives. We have no hesitation in recommending 7 Habits of Highly effective People – a great resource for your personal development.

You’ll find several articles on this site which draw on Stephen Covey’s ideas. In the further reading section you can link to some of our other pages which have used his wisdom.

Putting quotes on success to work

Leading Insights e-guide


If you’ve enjoyed reading these quotes, you may want to take a look at our Leadership StoriesLeadership quotes and stories are a great resource whether you use them just for your own benefit or with your team, to support meetings or presentations.

If you’re interested in developing your leadership skills, return to our Leadership Knowledge Hub. This contains a range of articles, tips and resource links which compliments this collection of quotes.

Or turn to our handy e-guide: Leading Insights, packed with more leadership quotes, stories and some leading insights into how they can be used! Insights such as:

Uncommon insights

  • Tipping point leadership
  • Find the glass
  • Leaders need to be cathedral thinkers
  • Would you recommend your service/organisation to your friends?
  • Putting on a performance
  • Would people pay to see your team perform?
  • Bricolage leadership
  • Resourceful leadership
  • Nudging leadership
  • Mirror leadership
  • Chameleon leadership
  • Catalyst leadership
  • Chrysalis leadership
  • Saliency, sagacity and serendipity
  • Infectious leadership
  • Infected leadership
  • Great work days
  • Defining moments
  • Conveying what you care about
  • The kind of goals leaders set matters
  • Motivating leaders
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