Just in case you never had time to read any book this month, “I gat you covered”.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is one of the must read books for anyone seeking to work/lead effectively . I first read this book during my Graduate Trainee Programme and it did make a big difference. Below is  a summary of the entire book in about 720 words.

Paradigms and Principles

A paradigm is the way we see and understand the world around us. It is a mental map by which we interpret the information we receive. Paradigms hold the key to our own personal interpretation of reality. Principles are guidelines for human behavior that have been proven over time to have enduring, permanent value. Our challenge is to develop paradigms for our own lives that are principle based. A paradigm shift is however necessary at times because some people’s problem is how they view the problem – their paradigm.


An old maxim says “Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action reap, reap a habit; sow a habit reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny”. This means habits have a great impact on who we become. Habits can both be learned and unlearned. A habit is an intersection of knowledge (knowing what to do and why), skill (how to do it) and desire (want to do). Developing a habit requires work in all three dimensions: Effectiveness lies in the balance of production of desired result and ability to produce desired result (The P/PC Balance).

The Seven (7) habits work in harmony with the natural laws of growth and provide an incremental, sequential, integrated approach to the development of personal effectiveness moving us progressively from dependence (on others) to independence (Being responsible for oneself) to interdependence (combining strengths to multiply our individual effectiveness). Habits 1, 2 and 3 deal with self-mastery (a move from dependence to independence) and produces private victory. Habits 4, 5 and 6 move you from a state of independence to interdependence and its product is public victory. Private victory precedes public victory. You can’t be successful with other people if you haven’t paid the price of success with yourself first. Habit 7 is a habit of renewal and encompasses all other habits.

The Seven Habits Explained

  1. Be Proactive

         Being proactive is being able to choose our responses to situations before they happen. A reactive person on the other hand, waits for thing to happen before taking action. Proactive people are driven by values that are both well thought out and internalized. They think ahead and deliver solutions that are well rounded. They take initiative and are not pushy or obnoxious

  1. Begin with the End in Mind

This infers that you have a clear picture of who you want to become and live in the context of the expectations from your dream personality. We may be busy and efficient, but effectiveness is being able to align our results with our destination. A personal mission statement built on correct and unchanging principles will help one to focus effectively.

  1. Put First Thing First

There are four types of activities viz;

 (i) Important and Urgent Activities (ii) Important But Not Urgent Activities (iii) Not Important But Urgent Activities (iv) Not Important And Non-Urgent Activities. Highly effective people– from a center of sound principles and knowledge of our personal mission – focus on the important and urgent and maintain a balance between increasing  production and increasing production capacity

  1. Think win/win

This approach constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions. Win-Win means that agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial and satisfying to all parties involved. This is critical for effective negotiation.

  1. Seek First to Understand Then to Be Understood

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand the other party, but with intent to reply. We are busy preparing our own answers based on our paradigm instead of listening actively to the other party. We will achieve more if we try to listen attentively to understand why the other person feels the way they feel. People open up more to a person that has a listening ear.

  1. Synergize

Synergy is working in unity and creativity with other human beings. Synergy produces the kind of result that is better than what individual members of the team would have produced independently. Members of a team synergize more effectively when everyone has an open mind. It is dependent on all the other six (6) habits.

  1. Sharpen the Saw

This is the habit of continuous improvement. It embodies all the other habits. It involves taking time on a regular basis to improve yourself in the physical, spiritual, mental and social or emotional dimensions.

Drop a comment below on which of these habits you will like to develop within the next 30 days.