Seven Habits Class

My employer offered a course called “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” with materials from Franklin Covey. From several choices I signed up for the Signature Program, compressed into 2 1/2 days. The intent of this post is not to explain and illustrate every concept but to give an overview. In the comments let me know if you would like more detail on a specific topic or just tell me what you think.

Day One

In the Foundation of the course, the character versus the personality ethic, the maturity continuum, and paradigms were introduced. We spent some time learning about Dependence, Independence, and Interdependence, which is the highest maturity level. We discussed Habit 1 which is Be Proactive. This section includes our circle of influence and our circle of concern. We were told to spend most of our time in our circle of influence. We also started into Habit 2, Begin With the End in Mind. It was pointed out that mental creation precedes physical creation.

Day Two

We started by working on our roles and relationships. For example, my roles are husband, father, child of God, engineer, and citizen. We then wrote tribute statements about how we lived each role, which is what we want people to say about us on our 80th birthdays. Next was to identify long-term goals, a discovery of our human endowments of self-awareness, imagination, and conscience. I wrote about those who have inflenced me and then drafted my personal mission statement. It was a lot of writing but it was somewhat easier for me because I had already identified my roles and had written a mission statement when I first read Seven Habits fifteen years ago.

Put First Things First is Habit 3, which speaks of effectiveness requiring the integrity to act on your priorities. The Time Matrix was introduced outlining the four quadrants that map the important, not important, urgent, and not urgent. The point is to gain more time for the important by reducing the unimportant. We were shown how to first plan weekly, before the daily, to select roles and take on the big rocks first.

After lunch we were told the Private Victory (the first three habits) must precede the Public Victory (habits 4, 5, and 6). We learned about the Emotional Bank Account where it may take up to five deposits to make up for one withdrawal. Habit 4 is Think Win-Win and is the habit of mutual benefit. Courage with Consideration and the Abundance Mentality (the opposite of the Scarcity Mentality) play into this habit. It was pointed out that we are conditioned to Win-Lose.

Day Three

Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood is Habit 5 which is listening with the intent to understand rather than to reply. We should not advise, probe, interpret (explaining another’s motives and behavior based on our own experiences), or evaluate. One should listen empathetically because it is the fastest form of human communication. It is simple to do, just reflect what they feel and say in your own words.

Habit 6 is Synergize meaning the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Synergy is creative cooperation. Highly effective people value and celebrate differences. When you face a problem, start by asking the other party, “Would you be willing to search for a solution that is better than what either of us has in mind?” With this agreed, move to reflecting viewpoints by restating  views to the other party’s satisfaction. Now create new ideas by proposing and refining alternatives. Eventually you arrive at the Third Alternative, with an idea that is better than what either of you started with.

Sharpen the Saw is Habit 7. In order to maintain and increase effectiveness, we must renew ourselves in body, heart, mind, and soul. This can be thought of as overlapping dimensions called physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.


It worked very well to have four different instructors over the 2 1/2 days of class. The student materials were excellent and the supporting videos were fun and instructive to watch. The time went by quickly, there was much to learn, and the target of improvement (oneself) made it all very relevant. I was fortunate to be able to attend this training at my worksite with instructors that have taught the course for several years.

Further Reading