Dr. Steven Covey passed away yesterday. Dr.Covey has been a big influencer for me personally. I have read most of his books and listened to all his audio books a million times. For those of you who don’t know Dr.Steven Covey, he was the author the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People“, he has written many best sellers and he was one of Time magazine’s 25 most influential people in 1996. I believe his work and legacy will continue given the number of people his seminars, books and audio tapes have touched. I am really sad to see Dr.Covey pass away, I believe he really took some of the most complex psychological tools and disciplines and organized it and made it available to everyone. The best way to remember Dr.Covey is to remind ourselves of the 7th Habit and his latest book the 8th Habit. Washington Post has a very nice way to remember Dr.Covey by sharing his 7 habit through a slide show of current leaders.

Dr. Covey was an entrepreneur himself, who gave up a successful academic career in Harvard University to start his own Personal Development and Leadership Training company Covey Leadership Center. He grew the business and merged it with Franklin Quest in 1997 and FranklinCovey organization has been serving customers ever since on personal development, leadership training and enabling greatness in everyone. I believe if every entrepreneur or a startup company follows Dr.Covey’s teachings in the 7th Habits and 8th Habit, they will be successful. Because I believe success the end result is built into the Principles of his teachings.

The 7 Habits and the 8th Habit defined from the perspective of an entrepreneur:

  1. Be proactive – Entrepreneurship is about being active, in addition an entrepreneur should take responsibility for her actions and the mere act of being responsible for one’s business and employees and stakeholders is definition of being proactive
  2. Begin with the end in mind – The vision of a startup or entrepreneur is nothing but this habit, if a startup does every aspect of its development with the end in mind the actions leading to that end will be obvious.
  3. Put first things first – This in my opinion is the most important habit for entrepreneurs, this habit should help one prioritize ones activities. This is such a simple statement but it is very hard to do when there are a million things to do while starting a company and building a team.
  4. Think Win-Win – This habit is very dear to me because this is the best way to structure agreements with anyone, if one starts thinking about the win for the other party, it automatically leads to a fruitful agreement. I have used it many times and it always works. Every entrepreneur should think Win-Win.
  5. First seek to understand then to be understood – Hardest of the habits, we have never been taught to listen but as an entrepreneur if you don’t stop and listen to your employees, customers, stakeholders it is bound to lead you to a sub-optimal result. Listening is one of the most important life skills that we just have not been taught. This habit forces us to think about first trying to understand what the other person is feeling before talking about our own feelings.
  6. Synergize – From a entrepreneurs perspective this is team building, bringing people with different strengths and aligning them to produce things of exponential value. The successful companies do this. What do you think is the per employee Revenue or Profit of Apple or Google? That is synergy, that one employee cannot possibly make that value without the help of all the other team members
  7. Sharpen the saw – This is an important habit of self renewal. Everyone of us has to take time to sharpen our skills whether it is constant education, reading or physical training.
  8. Find your voice and help others find their voice – This is the habit of inspiring others to pursue their own passion. The only way to do this is by finding our own voices first and then with that strength encourage others to do the same. Easier said than done. Dr.Covey is an excellent example of this habit, he found his voice and has inspired millions of people including myself to find our voices.
Dr.Steven R. Covey was a modern age Guru, his teaching embodied the works of many people and he was the first one to acknowledge that. He constantly mentions in his book that he takes no credit for the Principles and his humility really inspired me. I hope you get a chance to read his book or listen to his audiobooks, it will be one of the best gifts you give yourself. Rest in peace Dr.Covey, your legacy will continue.