2 Lessons Learned From Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

I do not really read a wide genre of books. I think as much as I can remember, all those books that I’ve read were self-help, management and biographies.

There are a few books that, I feel, might require a second or third read and there are some that I would recommend to my students and my friends. One such book is Steven R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.


Writing a 400 page book is hard work but writing a bestseller that has 15 million copies sold all over the world requires quality content with tonnes of research.

The entire book is almost like a seminar, and the entire content is written is such a way that it is an easy read, easily understood and act on. In the next few blog entries, I will be sharing some important points from the book.

I thought that it would be a good idea to write a review on the book. After reading it, I think it be much better if I share some of the more important lessons on this book.

The first lesson that I think is pretty important is the three parts of the Maturity Continuum, as how Stephen Covey wrote, ; Dependence, Independence and  Interdependence

‘Able to work independently as well as in a team’ or something like that..

That is something that almost all of us have, on our resume or we said something like that during a job interview. I get this quite often while meeting candidates for job interviews, especially in my capacity as a manager.

Generally, we are all able to work as a team and independently. Most people will not admit that they are dependent, simply because it has a rather negative label to it.

So, in a typical workplace, who is considered dependent?

There will be someone who choose to rely on others to feed them information, instruction and even tools of work. And they look for someone to blame when things do not work out.

Independence is more to a person who takes his or her own initiative, choose to take responsibility and self-reliant.

Interdependence is a teamwork paradigm where it is all about ‘we’ combining our resources and pool our talents together to achieve something that neither the dependent nor the independent will ever achieve.

To be someone who is interdependent is not easy. It requires someone to be at the highest level of maturity. Second to that is independence.

In the book, Stephen Covey wrote that a dependent person cannot choose to become interdependent and I could not have put it better.

For a team to achieve that level of synergy, each member of the team must be able to take on the roles assigned to them with full responsibility. Until they make a choice to become independent, interdependence is will never take place.

It takes a lot of character for one to become independent and it takes great character to become interdependent.

As you read further into the book, you will get to find out about the different habits that could help you achieve the level of interdependence.

The next lesson, which I think is a very cool concept, is the P/PC Balance. The first time I heard about the P/PC Balance, if my memory serves me right, was at a 3-day seminar of T. Harv Eker’s ‘The Millionaire Mind’. The trainer for that program, Robert Riopel did a great job in explaining the concept but it was more on a investment concept.

After reading about this concept from this book, I saw that the P/PC balance can be applied to many other things which includes health, career, family and the list goes on.  The P in the equation is Productivity whereas the PC represent Production Capability. In simpler terms, P is the golden eggs laid by the goose(PC).

source: www.dreamstime.com
source: www.dreamstime.com

Stephen Covey shared a story about a farmer who killed his goose (PC) thinking that there will be more golden eggs(P) inside. In the end, he lost his goose and he gets no more golden eggs.

Most managers and people who runs businesses focused hard on the P. I remembered an incident when I started a partnership back in 2009. We were awarded 2 contracts in a span of just two months and for a company that was just a month old, it was a very big deal.

We had to run 2 contracts at the same time. In the day, we worked on a maintenance contract and after that, we went off to work on a cleaning contract. There were a few occasions where we worked 2 days straight without sleep and most of the time, without lunch breaks.

We was so focused on delivering (P) that we forgot to take proper care of our health (PC).

One fine day, burned out…

In the midst of all the excitement of starting a business, making deals and achieving results, we got too ‘gungho’ for our own good.. It was not long before results slowed down and we suffered from lethargy etc.

That was an experience that I can never forget and it taught me some of the best lessons. When I joined another company, I made sure that the balance of the P/PC is maintained.

When I made the conscious effort to maintain the P/PC balance, it creates happier work environment, growing company with growing businesses and an endless flow of ideas.

This concept can also be applied to cars as well. Can you imagine what can happen if you keep using the car and ignore the need for regular maintenance? I think you know the answer.

There is one paragraph in the book that I held very close to my heart;

“You can buy a person’s hand, but you can’t buy his heart. His heart is where his enthusiasm, his loyalty is. You can buy his back, but you can’t buy his brain. That’s where his creativity is, his ingenuity, his resourcefulness”.

If you need to make changes to your personal life, career, business, interpersonal communication, you cannot simply read this book. You need to absorb the content in its entirety. A lot of research has been put it to create this step-by-step approach of problem solving.

Related posts:

Habit 1 of 7 from 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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