The Path Toward Effectiveness

Jeremy: Over the last several months our team has begun a real emphasis on learning and bettering ourselves.  One way this has taken shape is in the form of having a weekly book club.  We are currently reading “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.  Of the seven habits we have read three, Be Proactive, Begin with the End in Mind and Put First Things First and have gained tremendous insight almost as much in our personal lives as our professional lives.

Jenny and I wanted to take a moment today to pause and discuss what we are learning.  I’ll let Jenny kick it off.  Jenny, what are a couple key insights you have gained thus far in the reading of this book?

Jenny: I’m taking away so much from this book, I’m not even sure where to begin! Here’s a list of a few insights that are really sticking with me:

1. Being proactive. I find that in some situations, I’m very “reactive” but I am trying reminding myself to be more self-aware and responsible in my personal and work life. Allowing myself to “rescript” by recognizing the ineffective scripts I use in my life and finding what works for me is truly empowering.

2. Put first things first–time management focus is also extremely important. I have yet to use the schedule planning that the book provides, but I know for me, this type of planning would really help better my life.

What I’m having the most difficult time with, though, is writing my personal mission statement. Jeremy, thanks for sharing yours with me the other day. It really gave me more of a guideline on how to create my own, but I’m still having a tough time focusing on what my real “mission” is.

What insights have you taken from this book? What challenges have you encountered? Did you find difficulty in writing your mission statement? Has having a mission statement enriched your life? If so, how?

Jeremy: We just had our book club this morning and my mind is blown yet again.  It’s funny, I am finding that this book is permeating every aspect of my life and not just my work life.  I only signed up for an improvement in my work life.  Anyway, so I’m not going to talk about today’s chapter yet but talk about up to this point:

1. Personal Mission- I now understand why my personal mission is important.  It helps me understand what is truly important and set goals and objectives to achieve that mission.  If I don’t follow through, I’m going to have to be ok not achieving the goals I want to achieve.  A harsh but true reality.

2. Scheduling- Covey challenges readers to have a weekly schedule and stick to it.  I took a crack at it this week.  Of course emergencies arose, kids got sick and I altered my plan.  Blegh.  This is a process and not something that will be perfected on the first shot.  I like looking visually at how I’m going to achieve my goals weekly.

3. What’s really important?- I’m challenged sometimes more as a father and a husband by this book.  I so often am “semi-productive” at the office and make up for it in the evening after the kids are in bed but at what cost?  That pattern only puts a strain on the relationships most important to me.  I think this plan will help me be more effective at work and be more effective at home.  I’m excited to try implement this in my life.

So Jenny, to answer your question starting the mission statement from scratch is tough.  I didn’t want to make it too grandiose and unattainable.  There’s something good about simplicity.  Anyway, I ended up following a template in the book and am generally happy with it.  Speaking of priorities, I’m 5 minutes late for a conference call with you to talk about something unrelated to this.  Where are my priorities?

So, last thing.  To bring this full circle.  How is this going to help us Communicate Better both individually and as a team?

Jenny: Go figure, I was 7 minutes late to that very same meeting! Oops!

I know for me, when I have a mission or vision in place, it makes it easier to streamline my focus. It gives more purpose day in and day out. And, having a focus allows me to be much  more productive because the motivation is coming from within. As a team, the same goes with the mission/vision. We’re able to motivate each other internally and externally. This in turn makes for great customer service for our customers. Employees are satisfied and feel appreciated which leads to happy, appreciated customers!

Jeremy: I totally agree Jenny.  By determining the results we want (Better Communication) we can then set the goals to achieve those results.  It seems so simple.  I’m sure we’ll have to constantly tweak this.  The other element to this is to be consistent.  I am excited for what we are going to learn from the next four habits!

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