I found this book to be a great point of reference when it comes to running a business.

Dr Covey has written many books but this would be his most successful by far. The Seven Habits can be used as a guideline for your personal life as well for those who manage or lead others. It is both a personal and professional development tool.

It is a very pleasant read and the seven habits are clear and easy to implement. He explains each of them beautifully. I refer to them constantly and I’m never surprised to see them referenced in various professional development courses.

As a leadership trainer, I believe that Dr Covey was way ahead of his time when he published this book at least 25 years ago. Leaders were mostly authoritarians with the bottom line the major focus. This book opens up a whole new world of Leadership and relationship building.

Let me briefly discuss each of the seven habits, I will say that my summary is a very poor substitute for reading the real thing.

Habit 1 – Be Proactive.
How we respond to a situation will directly affect the outcome. There is a choice involved, we can sit back and let things happen to us or we can take a proactive stand to steer the course of events. We can choose to step outside of our comfort zone and respond in a way that will benefit us personally or our business.  Be a cause rather than an effect.

Habit 2 – Begin with the End in Your Mind.
Dr Covey refers to this habit as one of self-leadership. Keeping the vision and goals in mind will ensure that you are not veering off course. Keeping the end goal in mind will increase productivity as you work your way along the road to success.

Habit 3 – Put First Things First.
Personal Management is Dr Covey’s third habit.  It follows on from Habit 2 which he refers to as the mental creation. To implement the end goals we need to be organised and focused to produce the physical creation.

Habit 4 – Think Win-Win.
We need to co-operate with others. Dr Covey refers to this habit as one of interpersonal leadership; it is very difficult to achieve success without the assistance of others. Dr Covey believes that if we remember that there is plenty for everyone and if we offer a win-win situation to those we want to engage, success will naturally follow.

Habit 5 – Seek First to Understand, and Then to Be Understood.
Communication is key. Dr Covey explains that we should give to others first. Work to develop and maintain positive relationships in both our professional and personal lives before we expect them to give to us.

Habit 6 – Synergize.
This habit is all about building creative co-operation – we should endeavour to see and acknowledge the contribution that others make to a project or relationship. Dr Covey says that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Habit 7 – Sharpen The Saw.
This habit impacted me most from the very first time I read the book, many years ago. Dr Covey calls it the habit of self-renewal. Get this habit right and it will support all other habits. If we don’t take care of our self and recharge we will limit our growth, lose our effectiveness and ultimately burn out.

This is a book I am quick to pick up for a personal gift or to recommend as a reference text for any small business owner I’m working with. The seven habits are great to set a foundation built on integrity and strong values. Anyone can benefit from reading this book, I highly recommend it.