Monday, May 23, 2011

Book Club: Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

I'm so glad we're moving into the habits of interdependence. The first three habits have done so much to help me increase my personal effectiveness; I'm eager to see how the last four will help me develop interdependence.

I love the anecdote about the guy who is frustrated by his wife's jealousy and then finally admits that she's jealous because he met her while cheating on his previous wife. Covey's response was awesome: "You can't talk your way out of problems you behave yourself into." That truth connects to an idea later in the chapter about living with integrity by being loyal to those who are not present (i.e., not gossiping!). It's definitely something that I struggle with. It's embarrassing to admit, but I like gossiping with people because it makes me feel closer to the person I'm talking to. But I can absolutely see how gossiping actually undermines that closeness because that person begins to wonder if I also gossip about them. I think the best thing to do is reserve my gossiping for my conversations with Matt.

The other big idea that really resonated with me in this chapter was the idea of the Emotional Bank Account. So, so true! Every interaction is either a debit or a deposit. I definitely see that in my own life and relationships. I want to keep this idea at the forefront of my mind always.

And this quote kind of shook me: "It is more noble to give yourself completely to one individual than to labor diligently for the salvation of the masses." As I work toward starting a public Montessori charter school to help close the achievement gap in this country, I need to remember to prioritize my one-on-one relationships.

As a side note, I met a school principal and assistant principal from Austin who have clearly read and internalized the seven habits. And they were awesome! They seemed so full of integrity, sincerity, and humility. And, their school had a super-high staff retention rate--no wonder!

I'm really glad I'm reading this book, although I am simultaneously asking myself: "What are the negative aspects of these habits? What is the downside of too much self control?"

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Andee said...

Why is gossiping such a bonding agent? I grew up in a family that bonds through gossip and it is a tough habit to break.I should really put that on my list of intentions for next month: curb gossiping.

Katie Z. said...

I'm a bit behind and just commented on the last two chapters, but I am half way through this chapter and am already jotting down ideas for how to put some of these ideas into action. I'll write more after I finish the chapter on Wednesday.

Kate S. said...

Oh, how I love Covey! The quote, "Independence is an achievement. Interdependence is a choice only independent people can make" really resonated with me because it interdependence is a choice that I would like to make so it's driving me to become more truly independent. I'm continuing to read through the whole book, but I still have a long way to go to becoming independent so I took some time while traveling this week to work on my values clarification, roles and goals, and possible mission statement. It's a really exciting process and am so thankful to this book club for getting me started and keeping me accountable to doing this!

I LOVED the idea of an emotional bank account. There are people that I feel I do a great job of making deposits to, but there are others that I don't tend to as often as I'd like. Clarifying some of my values and roles has helped me identify who those people are and what I need to do to make more deposits into those emotional bank accounts. One of the things that I really took to heart was the idea that "what is important to another person must be as important to you as the other person is to you." This idea is a hard one to put in practice, but I'd really like to try.

Katie Z said...

I am really loving the practicality of Covey's habits and realizing why this book is such as staple for so many people! Again, the topics in this section are not exactly new to many, as I have learned them in other parts of my life, but the way Covey presents these ideas is very effective.

As I've mentioned before, I am involved in a mentoring program for inner city high school youth. One of the key tenants of that program is integrity for both the adults and the youth and I would say it is the most challenging part for both groups. In fact, it took me a while to figure out why it was so important when I first started, but after 4 years of involvement and helping to evaluate our o I realized that that component is one . The concept of the emotional bank account in this chapter gave me a great summary of the reason why it works (and I can't wait to start using this language to describe it to mentors).

I also love the idea of making people stewards. The concept makes so much sense and immediately I started jotting down ideas for how I could help support some of the admin staff I work with in feeling stewards in the work I am asking them to help me out with!

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