My first thought when reading The 8th Habit - From Effectiveness to Greatness by Stephen R. Covey - was that the title is misleading. Far from being an 8th habit, this book is about mindset and amazing leadership.
Because it was called The 8th Habit - I (being a sequential kind of person) felt like I had to read Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People first.
Confession: I have had the 7 Habits book on my bookshelf since 1989 - I know, Marie Kondo would have a fit.
But I finally did read the 7 Habits a few months ago, which then made it possible for me to read The 8th Habit this past week.
And what I realized is that The 8th Habit - From Effectiveness to Greatness is all about finding your voice and inspiring others to find theirs.
I needn't have worried about reading the 7 Habits first because the 8th Habit truly does stand on it’s own.
It is packed with so much information and inspiration that you should not wait to read the first book before you read the second.
Part I: Finding Your Voice
Part I of The 8th Habit is all about what Covey calls “finding your voice”.
I call it mindset.
Covey states that each one of us is born with a unique set of gifts that we can share with the world if we choose to do so.
Too often people see themselves as victims of circumstance.
How many of you have said “I would have done that if only …”?
I know I have.
This quote from the book really drives the concept home:
Your power to choose the direction of your life allows you to reinvent yourself, to change your future, and to powerfully influence the rest of creation.
Covey uses many diagrams throughout this book - almost to the point of confusion. Many are very similar to each other with slight differences.
However there was one diagram in Part I that pulled everything he mentioned in a powerful way.
It was basically a Venn diagram of 4 overlapping circles.
Each circle represented Passion, Talent, Need and Conscience.
Where all of the circles intersected was Voice.
And he summarizes Voice as follows:
… when you engage in work … that taps your talent and fuels your passion - that rises out of a great need in the world that you feel drawn by conscience to meet - therein lies your voice, your soul’s code.
Once you find your voice and the unique way in which you can help the world - it is time to share that voice to help others find their own.
Inspire Others to Find Their Voice
The The 8th Habit - From Effectiveness to Greatness is a business book.
So, it's purpose is to inspire people to improve their leadership skills.
As the leader of an organization, you want to inspire all of the people within to find their own voices so that they can use their talents to further the goals of the organization.
And you want them to do it in a “principle-centered” way - so that each individual is self motivated to do the job and do it well.
Personally, I am a solopreneur and don’t have an organization, but I do have a large family that I would consider to be my organization.
So, surprisingly, I actually found many useful parenting techniques in part II of The 8th Habit.
As parents, we tend to micromanage our kids.
We want the best for them - so our intentions are good. But too often, kids misinterpret parents as being controlling.
The same is true of an overbearing boss.
Control does not inspire people to do their best work - in fact it does the opposite - it breeds resentment.
Thankfully, in The 8th Habit - From Effectiveness to Greatness Covey doesn’t just identify the problems and leave us hanging.
4 Step Solution to Finding Your Voice
He offers a four step solution to implement.
- Modeling - setting a good example.
- Pathfinding - plotting a course of action, together.
- Aligning - creating systems to stay the course.
- Empowering - focusing on results not methods.
Covey then uses the rest of the book to provide techniques that we can use to accomplish the four steps above.
If I had one criticism about this book - it is that I find it confusing.
Again, my single process brain almost needs to be hit over the head with what concept is being discussed and how to do it - my mind just begs for a simplistic outline form.
While reading this book I found that I kind of forgot where I was.
I would repeatedly look at the chapter heading and then backtrack to clarify what concept I was reading about.
However, the strategies are rock solid.
The Win-Win Strategy
I love the discussion of the Win-Win or no deal negotiation.
In a Win-Win or no deal - there is no loser and there is NO compromise.
Both parties get what they want. It is magical.
And as you read through his examples, you understand that the negotiation to get there is truly an art form.
The Talking Stick Strategy
The Talking Stick concept is just priceless.
If you know an “interrupter” the Talking Stick is a genius concept and could save many a relationship.
The person doing the talking holds the stick.
No one else talks.
The Best Way to Read the 8th Habit Book
In the beginning of The 8th Habit - From Effectiveness to Greatness Covey had said that he actually does not recommend that we read this book in one fell swoop.
Rather, he suggests that we digest and practice the information in each chapter before moving on to the next.
If I wasn’t writing this review, I probably would have done just that.
As it is, this book took me longer to get through than I anticipated.
This is partly because of the confusion that I mentioned above, and partly because there is so much great information to digest.
I definitely will be going back through this book a little at a time.
Have You Read This Book?
I thought that The 8th Habit - From Effectiveness to Greatness was for both business and, surprisingly, for home.
It will help you lead your organization, whether it be your team at work, your one person blog, or your family with more compassion and authenticity.
The 8th Habit is not just about theory - but it will give you actionable strategies that you put into practice.
If you have read this book, tell us what you think in the comments below.
In case you missed last week’s book - we read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. You can read the review here.
Next up is A Happy Pocket Full of Money by David Cameron Gikandi. Happy reading!!!