By John Corban
Stephen Covey wrote a ground-breaking book (The 7 habits of highly effective people) years ago, that changed the way many leaders manage their business and life. In this article, I summarise the seven habits, so you can choose to apply some or all of them.
1. Be proactive
A proactive person takes responsibility for all the good and not so good that happens in their life and business. A proactive person focuses their time and energy on things they can control. They plan what they want to achieve and take positive action. A reactive person believes that something else outside their control like the economy, competitors, weather or people, affects their life or business.
2. Begin with the end in mind
All things are created twice. First it is created mentally, then physically. The physical creation follows the mental, just as a building follows a plan.
Beginning with the end in mind means to begin each day, task, project, the financial year, with a clear vision of your desired direction and destination, and then to continue by flexing your proactive muscles to make things happen. Do you have a vision for your business for the next five years?
3. Put first things first
Each day, an effective leader knows what his daily priorities and goals are and works towards achieving them. You must also know how to say no to some things that will distract you from achieving your priorities.
4. Think win-win
If you have a win/lose attitude, it also means you have a belief in a scarcity mentality. In other words, there is only so much out there for you. If someone wins the other must lose. But if you adopt a win/win or abundance mentality, then you believe that there is enough for everyone. It’s a much better attitude to have when working with suppliers, clients, subcontractors or employees – they benefit and you benefit. It’s a much better way to run your life and your business.
5. Seek first to understand and then be understood
Communication is the most important skill in life. If you’re like many people, you probably seek first to be understood; you want to get your point across. And in doing so, you may ignore the other person completely, only selectively hearing certain parts of the conversation, as we are often thinking of what we want to say in return. When we do this, we don’t really understand their conversation and fail to really connect. And the other person, your employee, client, supplier, subcontractor or family member, knows you are not really listening. Start listening more intently, it will change every communication.
To put it simply, synergy means “two heads are better than one.” Synergise is the habit of creative co-operation. It is teamwork, open-mindedness, and finding new solutions to old problems. But it doesn’t just happen on its own. It’s a process, and through that process, people bring all their experiences, perspectives and expertise to the table. Together, they can produce far better results than they could individually. Synergy lets us discover things jointly, more than we are likely to discover by ourselves.
7. Sharpen the saw
Sharpen the saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have, YOU. It means giving time to each of the major four areas of your life: physical, emotional, spiritual and mental.
In order for your business to benefit from your alert, passionate mind, you must renew yourself. Eat properly, exercise regularly, spend time with your family and friends, give some time to the things that have meaning and purpose. Every day provides a new opportunity to go to work with passion, energy and a smile, instead of being mentally drained.
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