Everyone wants to be successful. I know I do. But how effective is our search for success? One popular book that claims to help people with that process is The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.
Seven Habits presents an “inside-out” approach to effectiveness that is centered on principles and character. The “inside-out” approach means that change starts from within oneself. The seven habits are as follows:
• Be proactive
• Begin projects in business, career or life with the end in mind
• Prioritize: put first things first
• Think win/win; everyone can gain from choices, decisions and undertakings
• Seek first to understand, then to be understood
• Synergize: learn to move away from dependence and total independence to interdependence.
The Storymoja Business Book club participants grappled with issues of personal growth as presented in Stephen R. Covey’s book. One of the habits found most problematic was the win/win scenario. Tony Timase of Royal Media did not believe that this principle works in the African context. He said that it is extremely difficult to find successful businesswomen who are happily married or good parents, for example. One participant countered with examples of couples who are successful business partners, such as those in Asian communities where whole families work together. Another participant, Benson Muli, gave the example of banks and supermarkets that do not operate by win/win principles. When one bank wins, its competitors lose, he argued. Phyllis Muthoni, the guest for the month, responded by saying that we can create win/win situations by starting the change within ourselves. She believed quite passionately in the principles of the Seven Habits, saying they had changed her life and were relevant in her work as a human resource consultant.
While discussing the ability to begin every project with the end of mind, Doreen Baingana gave a hilarious anecdote about leaving her country, Uganda, to work for a “little” company called Storymoja because she could see a positive end in sight every month: a cheque.
Seven Habits is a great book not just for business people, but for anyone who wants to enhance their effectiveness. Discussing the book made the issues in it come alive, and this is why Storymoja holds these book clubs: to give you all a chance to talk about the books you love and the fascinating ideas in them. If you would like to attend the next one, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org