Bestselling author Stephen R. Covey died this week of injuries that he sustained from a bicycle accident in April. (Official Press Release.) We know the great personal loss of his passing to his family and those who knew him. It is a great loss to the rest of us as well, who benefited from his common sense wisdom through his writing.
Covey was a prolific author and wrote books that were truly useful to Leaders: books on personal effectiveness, trust, conflict resolution, prioritization, and more. A personal effectiveness guru of sorts, his most famous book was undoubtedly “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Those 7 Habits are:
Habit 1: Be Proactive
Habit 1: Begin with the End in Mind
Habit 1: Put First Things First
Habit 1: Think Win/Win
Habit 1: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Habit 1: Synergize
Habit 1: Sharpen the Saw
The “7 Habits…” as a business book. On Amazon.com, Covey’s publisher claims “7 Habits…” to be “the #1 Most Influential Business Book of the Twentieth Century.” That accolade may well be true. In 2011, the book made Time’s list of “The 25 Most Influential Business Management Books.”
“7 Habits…” was one of the first business books that I ever purchased and I still have my original 1989 edition. It was the first book that I featured for Leaders in the resource section of PeelerAssociates.com and it is one that I have recommended to clients time and again.
Ironically, the book isn’t really about business at all. It’s about effectively managing one’s self and one’s relationships with others. But that’s exactly what makes it a great leadership book – these are the things that great leaders do well.
The 7 Habits live on. Despite Covey’s passing, I know the 7 Habits will live on because they are timeless and they are relevant. For Leaders attempting to achieve success and satisfaction, the 7 Habits are essential.
If some of the concepts seem cliché now, that’s because “7 Habits…” was (and still is) so widely read. The concepts have been so often repeated that they have become a part of standard language.
The irony is that while we’ve come to think of the habits as common sense, many leaders still struggle to turn them into actual habits. That’s another reason “7 Habits…” will live on.
RIP Dr. Stephen R. Covey.