Covey Notes Part 2

Some more notes from Stephen Covey.  In case you missed the first post, here is a link to it:  Notes from Stephen Covey Part 1

  1. Our goals help us take the actions necessary to realize our mission.
  2. If you don’t let a teacher know at what level you are-by asking a question, or revealing your ignorance-you will not learn or grow.  You cannot pretend for long, for you will eventually be found out.  Admission of ignorance is often the first step in our education.  Thoreau taught, “How can we remember our ignorance, which are growth requires, when we are using our knowledge all the time?”
  3. When we are reactive, a cloudy, gloomy day might make us feel gloomy.  When we’re proactive, we carry our weather around with us.  We create internal conditions of happiness and productivity, so that circumstances alone no longer dictate what we do or feel.
  4. Writing a mission statement can be a tool for clarifying things that we otherwise might not know.  Most people at some point in their lives long for a sense of meaning and purpose.  They sense that they have talents and contributions to offer but are not sure what their talents are.  The mission statement is a way of discovering that sense of purpose by coming to know ourselves better.
  5. Because paradigms create their own evidence and filter understanding, we may be seeing problems that aren’t there or seeing them as bigger than they really are.
  6. Some goals are lifetime goals, meaning that we intend to achieve them before we die.  To achieve them, we break them into smaller steps, perhaps 10-year goals or five-year goals.  These intermediate goals are then divided into small steps, until we have subdivided the lifetime goals into immediate goals that can work today.
  7. On the whole, human assets are more important than physical or financial assets because they determine how the other two assets are used.  They become more important as organizations become more complex or more dependent on expensive and complicated technology.
  8. Adults are often products of win-lose scripting of the “normal distribution curve” of the academic world.  Academic and athletic scripting may also carry over into legal, political, and business professions where comparisons, competitions, and contests are common.
  9. I believe that we are embryonic and can develop and release more potential; develop more and more talents.  Highly related to this principle of growth–the process of releasing potential and developing talents, with the accompanying need for principles such as patience, nurturance, and encouragement.
  10. Five levels of initiative:  Wait until told; Ask; Recommend; Do it/report immediately; Do it/report routinely.
  11. Empathetic listening is a skill.  It is practiced through “reflection.”  Reflection means restating as clearly as possible what we are understanding.  By restating our understanding, we put it out where both we and the other person can examine it.
  12. The most mature attitude in a relationship is “win-win or no deal.”  This means that if we can’t come up with a win-win agreement or deal, we simply agree not to deal.  We agree to disagree agreeably.  If we both can’t feel good about it, let’s not enter into any agreement.
  13. When we close our mind and avoid risk, we stunt our growth.
  14. We affect other people through the paradigms we hold of them.  The social mirror is a two-way mirror.  As other people are our social mirror, so we are theirs.  By being aware of this, we can use that principle of the Social Mirror to encourage people to expand their limits rather than live within them.
  15. Writing a personal mission statement encourages you to think deeply about your life.  It causes you to expand your perspective and to examine your innermost thoughts and feelings.  In this process, you clarify what is really important to you.
  16. Companies are networks of interdependent relationships.  Each employee receives, transforms, and gives out again.  One person’s output becomes another’s input, and the interconnections are so complete that each element within the network affects everything else.
  17. The chance of synergy is greatest when two people tend not to se things in the same way,  Differences, therefore, are an opportunity.
  18. We can’t create synergy directly.  It is a by-product, and trying too hard to create it can actually prevent it.  Our goal, therefore, is not to create synergy but to create the climate in which it thrives.
  19. The idea behind sharpening the saw is to take small positive steps every day.  Doing small things consistently has a cumulative effect that is powerful and more dynamic than any massive single effort could ever be.
  20. Almost all creative endeavors are somewhat unpredictable.  They often seem ambiguous, hit or miss, trial and error.  Unless people have a high tolerance for ambiguity and get their security from integrity to principles and inner values, they may find it unnerving and unpleasant to be involved in highly creative enterprises.  Their need for structure, certainty, and predictability is too high.
  21. Values are the things that we hold to be important.  They’re generally principles rather than concrete or tangible things.
  22. Relationships depend on expectations.  When expectations are clear and people observe them, relationships tend to run smoothly.  When they are unclear or unmet, we tend to feel uncertain or violated.
  23. When two or more people work together to understand something, they can create a phenomenon called synergy.  Synergy lets us discover jointly things that we are much less likely to discover by ourselves.
  24. Is it logical that two people can disagree, and that both can be right?  Is not logical: it is psychological, and it’s very real.
  25. Imagination gives potential its first tangible and observable form.  We imagine what we’d like to be, and this image gives us a target to move toward.  As long as we live in memory, we have no target, other than to stay where we are or to revisit where we’ve been.
  26. Interdependence opens up worlds of possibilities for deep, rich, meaningful associations, for goemetrically increased productivity, for serving, for contributing, for learning, for growing.  But it is also where we feel the greatest pain, the greatest frustration, the greatest roadblocks to happiness and succes. And we’re very aware of that pain because it is acute.

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