Book review - The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

leadership management optimal wellbeing personal development personal growth professional development Apr 25, 2022
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People book review

This book has been such a great inspiration for such a long time. It's one of the recommended must-read books for anyone wanting to progress their life. Particularly those with aspirations to move into management and leadership positions. As a coach and organisational change consultant, The Seven Habits is prescribed reading from me to my clients.


It was one of the first books that really reinvigorated ethical leadership. The basis of the book is its values based, aligned to a life vision and is all about developing your character to align with that vision and values, versus what had become popular at the time, learning tools and techniques to gain a quick sale or position. Instead, the Seven Habits is all about working on building a great character and through really understanding your values and living from those/


It's about becoming an effective manager of your people and an effective leader of your business. Unfortunately, there are so many ways that organizations structure themselves that work against collaboration, cohesion and bringing out the best in their people. Fundamentally the purpose of living and going to work is to become the best person that you can, and the Seven Habits encourages this.


The reason we chose The Seven Habits as our book club book, was to hone into the seventh habit ‘Sharpen the Saw’ and into the personal, self-management and time management quadrants. The fourth quadrant talks about resting and renewing and investing in yourself – your personal and professional development.


This is important work, and the habit is named after the story that in summary says “if you have six hours to chop down a tree, you should spend four hours sharpening

your axe/saw and just two chopping the tree down”. The idea is that you must prepare (train) yourself to be the best possible person for whatever role you're going to take on, then do whatever the role is. But to be ready to do the role, you must have spent those hours growing your capability to do it effectively and well.


From a yoga perspective the concept of studentship is central to the path and philosophy. We spend many hours in training and practice to deepen our ability to be the best practitioner and teacher we can be.


This means that at Yoga to Transform part of our annual planning is planning the times for us to complete professional development. We have booked ‘Unleash the Power Within’ for the second time with Tony Robbins, and ‘Nail it and Scale it’ with Kerwin Rae to grow our business and ourselves. Kristina is getting mentoring from an Anusara Certified Yoga teacher, Christine du Fresne @UnityYoga and Audrie is completing 300-hour teacher training with My Vinyasa Practice. Growth and


Beyond personal and professional development Sharpen the Saw focuses on living a wholistic, well-rounded life to have optimal wellbeing. Covey discusses the importance of a good diet, exercise, sleeping well, rostering in time for vacation, rostering time for training and development, being part of and connecting to your family and friends just as strongly as you commit to your business. And commit to being of service in the world. Again, this speaks to yogic values and philosophy of purity of body and mind. Being effective means you recognise we are all humans seeking connection.


Ultimately the work and habit to cultivate is to become a well-round, healthy person in service to other people. As the philosophy goes, leadership is service. Through the process of looking after yourself you're able to be more effective in the world. That's the whole point of this book, to provide a solution for becoming more effective versus more efficient.


The message is to focus on becoming a good (effective) human, by focusing on

building your relationships and standing in integrity for the long term. Through this you will achieve results to 10x or 100x or 1000x versus someone who's just looking at the short-term bottom-line return.


While we generally think Seven Habits is about the big things but it’s the small habits as well. It is how we schedule and organize our lives on a day-to-day basis. This is something we focus on building in our Yoga to Transform courses, the smally daily habits that will make a big difference over the long term.


Have you heard of the hour of power?  Whereby you get up earlier than everyone else at 5am, to study, planning, exercise, meditation before you start your day. Even thought it is a hard habit to cultivate and maintain but it is one that supports your fast-track progression. It doesn’t need to be at 5am, it could be at 6am if you normally wake up at 7am. You can work your way into it, by simply starting to wake up fifteen minutes earlier progressively.


Part of this contributing to your fast-track success is that you've committed to yourself. It is hard to commit to other people if you cannot make that commitment to yourself. When you commit the time and said no to other things as this is important to you, you are sharpening your saw. You are investing the time to be the best person you can be. So, you can do your best work in the world, whatever it might be


If you would like to know more about our services including our courses, workshops, coaching or retreats then click here


Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from us as we release new blogs and services.