Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Begin with the end in mind..."

Stephen Covey was a man of incredible integrity and essence. He created a philosophy that so many people followed based on the idea of Principle-Centered Leadership. His dedication to propelling that idea through his highly renowned book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Persons" will always be a mainstay on the bookshelves of extraordinary leaders. But, the amazing thing about this whole approach to leadership is that the philosophy behind the approach is nothing more than common sense.

1. Be proactive
2. Begin with the end in mind
3. Put first things first
4. Think “win-win.”
5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood
6. Synergize
7. Sharpen the saw; that is, undergo frequent self-renewal.

Students of many different beliefs recognize the inherent philosophy from these seven guidelines. One can recognize Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, and Islamic ideas emanating from these precepts that have inspired so many people since Dr. Covey created them for his approach to successful, common-sense leadership.

As the world is still reeling from the Joe Paterno issue at Penn State and the news is caught up in the efficacy of the report that questioned motives and intent, remembering these seven precepts of leadership may place these events in perspective. Potentially, they could guide behaviors of leaders in responsible and ethical directions where another event of the nature could be prevented.

Stephen Covey told people that when practicing the second habit of "begin with the end in mind" to envision your funeral and imagine what you would want people to say about you as they eulogized your life. In his case, the eulogy will be a testament to all the people that his life's work inspired over the years, and the good these people are doing because of it. Instead of a statue, his work and philosophy will be his legacy.

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