Notes on the 7 habits of highly effective people

These are my notes and thoughts, and are based on the book “The 7 habits of highly effective people” by  Stephen R Covey. The notes may not make a great deal of sense on their own and are not a “summary” of the book – you will need to read the book yourself.  I found it a very useful model.


Private victory
  1. Be proactive
  2. Begin with the end in mind
  3. Put first things first



Public victory
  1. Think win/win
  2. Seek first to understand… then be understood
  3. Synergise
  1. Sharpen the saw

Paradigm shifts

Changing attitudes and behaviours is difficult if major change is occuring (personality ethic). Need to see things differently (character ethic) – this separates thinking from personality/behaviour attitudes.

“Be the change you want”

Principles of human existence

  • Fairness
  • Integrity
  • Honesty
  • Human dignity
  • Service
  • Quality
  • Excellence
  • Potential
  • Growth
  • Patience
  • Nurturing
  • Encouragement
  • Principles (the “territory”) are not practices or values (“maps”). Develop a Trust Climate.
  • “Borrowing strength” from a higher level builds weakness. Need listening, patience, understanding of where others are coming from.
  • Teaching when emotional change is present can seem like judgement or rejection – there are times not to teach.
  • Possession needs to come before sharing > the value of giving yourself.

The approach

  • Principle centred
  • Character based
  • Inside out

“You’re going to reap just what you sow”

Sow a thought Reap an action
Sow an action Reap a character
Sow a character Reap a destiny

ie: our character is a composite of our habits

The maturity continuum





A balance between production P and production capabilityPC

(cf the goose who laid the golden egg)


  • Physical

  • Financial

  • Human

  • Organisational

So caring less what others think about you opens you to caring more about other people.

We are free to choose our actions based on the knowledge of our principles but are not free to choose the consequences of our actions

Source: The 7 habits of highly effective people – Stephen R Covey.

en English