Covey Leadership Concepts

A few thoughts to share with you from the notes I have taken over the years from Stephen Covey.  You probably have seen some of the before, but for me, it always helps to have review lists to make sure that I am applying the things I believe are important.

  1. Forming a habit requires knowledge (what, why), skills (how), and desire (want to).
  2. Live according to timeless unchanging principles rather than personality.
  3. Effectiveness is defined as the balance between production and production capability. Most definitions focus strictly on success. Goose vs. Golden Egg fable.
  4. Principles are guidelines for human behavior that are unarguable and are natural laws. They are self evident, timeless, never change, and apply everywhere.  Examples of principles: fairness, honesty, integrity, quality, service, excellence, and balance.
  5. You can never sustain trust without trustworthiness.
  6. Do I balance all aspects of life? (e.g. work, leisure, family) to maintain overall effectiveness?
  7. Do not sacrifice long-term prosperity for short term results.
  8. You make choices that contribute to your values. You feel comfortable about your decisions.
  9. Paradigms are the way we see the world—our mental maps, our way of thinking.
  10. Problems have less to do with behavior and attitude than paradigms.
  11. We do not see the world as it is, we see the world as we are—or have been conditioned to see it.
  12. To make minor changes, change attitude and behavior. To make quantum leaps, change paradigms—the way you view the world. Behaviors and attitudes will follow.
  13. Relationships have “emotional bank accounts” which continually receive deposits and withdrawals.
  14. Emotional Bank Account deposits work to our advantage only if that’s not what we have in mind when we do them. In other words, if we make deposits with the idea of taking advantage of others, they can turn into withdrawals because they’re insincere.
  15. Deposits are kindness, courtesies, keeping promises and commitments, clear expectations, loyalty to the absent, apologies.
  16. In general, acts of trust are Emotional Bank Account deposits. Conversely, acts that weaken trust are withdrawals.
  17. Unconditional love means exactly that: love given without conditions, love given with nothing expected in return. We can express unconditional love only by making unconditional deposits, meaning deposits that we make for their own sake, not because we expect to get anything from them.
  18. Motives for making deposits must be sincere and not manipulative.
  19. Withdrawals are unkindness, discourtesies, breaking promises, unclear expectations, disloyalty, duplicity, conceit, arrogance.
  20. In relationships, the little things are the big things.
  21. Expecting people and circumstances to change for us is fruitless. Nothing moves, because we judge it, or get angry, at it, or try to manipulate it.
  22.  In a win-win agreement, the following elements are made explicit:
    a. Desired results—not methods, what is to be done, and when.
    b. Guidelines—specify the parameters (principles, policies, legalities, procedures, failure paths, etc..) within which the results are to be accomplished.
    c. Resources—identify the human, financial, technical, and organizational support available to help accomplish the results.
    d. Accountability—set up the standard of performance and the time for evaluation.
    e. Consequences—specify good and bad natural and logical consequences. What does and what will happen as a result of achieving desired results.
  23. People who engage in win-win relationships do the following:a. Look for the good in other people.
    b. Communicate clear expectations.
    c. Seek other ideas and listen with empathy.
    d. Are accurate, timely, and honest in communication.
    e. Treat people with respect and respond to the needs of others.
    f. Focus on the positive, but provide constructive feedback on improvement areas.
  24. When making a Win-win agreement:
    a. Put yourself in the other person’s place, and write down explicitly how you think that person understands the situation.
    b. List from your own perspective, the result that would constitute win for you.
    c. Approach the other person and ask if he or she would be willing to communicate until you both reach a point of agreement and a mutually beneficial solution.

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