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Book:  The 8th Habit

Author:  Stephan Covey

Purchase:  Print | eBook | Audiobook

Citation:  Covey, S. (2004). The 8th habit: From effectiveness to greatness. New York: Franklin Covey Co.

Three Big Takeaways:
  1. We all have the power to decide to live a great life, or even simpler, to have not only a good day but a great day. No matter how long we’ve walked life’s pathway to mediocrity, we can always choose to switch paths. (pg. 29)

  2. Simply put - at its most elemental and practical level - leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it themselves. (pg. 98)

  3. If you study the underlying roots of almost all communication breakdowns or broken cultures, you’ll find they come from either ambiguous or broken expectations around roles and goals. (pg. 174)


Other Key Ideas:

​Next to life itself, the power to choose is your greatest gift.  This power and freedom stand in stark contrast to the mind-set of victimism and culture of blame so prevalent in society today.  (pg. 41)

The power of choice means that we are not merely a product of our past or of our genes; we are not a product of how other people treat us. They unquestionably influence us, but they do not determine us. (pg. 42)

Cultivating the habit of affirming people, of frequently and sincerely communicating your belief in them - particularly teenagers who are going through identity crisis - is supremely important.  It’s a relatively small investment with incalculable, unbelievable results. (pg. 73)

Most people equate discipline with an absence of freedom.  In fact, the opposite is true.  Only the disciplined are truly free.  The undisciplined are slaves to moods, appetites, and passions. (pg. 74)

Discipline is the trait common to all successful people; the successful person has formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.  It’s not that successful people like doing them either...but their dislike is subordinated by the strength of their purpose. (pg. 75)

Integrity is the most essential quality of an effective leader. (pg. 148)

Nothing destroys trust faster than making and breaking a promise.  Conversely, nothing builds and strengthens trust more than keeping a promise you make. (pg. 169)

Being loyal to those not present is one of the most difficult things to do and is one of the highest tests of both character and the depth of bonding that has taken place in a relationship.  (pg. 174)

Giving negative feedback is one of the the most difficult communications there is.  It is also one of the most needed.  (pg. 177)

People in authority should make pushing back and giving feedback legitimate.  When you do receive feedback, you need to speak explicitly about it and express gratitude for it, however much it may hurt. (pg. 178)

What are your values?  Unfortunately, most people have never decided what matters the most to them.  They haven’t developed the criteria that will inform and govern all other decisions.  (pg. 221)​

When there is a lack of clarity and commitment, you will have nothing but confusion about what is truly important.  The end result is that urgency will define importance. That which is urgent - becomes important. (pg. 277)​

To achieve results with excellence, you must focus on a few important goals and set aside everything else.  Since we are wired to do only one thing at a time with excellence, we must learn to narrow our focus. The reality is, far too many of us try to do far too many thing. (pg. 283)

Without crystal-clear measures of success, people are never sure what the goal truly is.  Without measures, the same goal is understood by a hundred different people in a hundred different ways.  As a result, team members get off track doing things that might be urgent but less important. That is why it is so crucial to have a scorecard for your strategic plan and crucial goals. (pg. 284)

All team members should be able to see the scoreboard and watch it change moment by moment, day by day, or week by week.  They should be discussing it all the time. They should never really take their minds off it. The compelling scoreboard has the effect of keeping score in a street game.  All of a sudden, the tempo changes.  (pg. 286)​

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