There are 105 books listed on my 2017 edition of Roddy’s Recommended Reading, and one of the most highly regarded – by myself and millions of businesspeople – is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. Since it was first published in 1989, over 25 million copies of Covey’s classic have been sold.
Maybe you’re thinking right now, “But I don’t have time to read that book and work on myself and my business strategy. Look at the mountain of stuff that’s on my plate – I’m too busy!” If that sounds familiar, I have good news for you. First, one of Covey’s habits is “Put First Things First,” which means you need to prioritize so you are engaged in the most impactful activities, not just the most pressing.
Second, I can save you hours of time by sharing my book notes with you. Following are 35 of the most insightful quotes from The 7 Habits that apply to ISV organizations:
Habit 1: Be Proactive
- Between stimulus and response, man has the freedom to choose.
- Reactive people are often affected by their physical environment. If the weather is good, they feel good. If it isn’t, it affects their attitude and their performance. Proactive people can carry their own weather with them.
- Reactive people are driven by feelings, by circumstances, by conditions, by their environment. Proactive people are driven by values – carefully thought about, selected and internalize values.
- Any time we think the problem is “out there,” that thought is the problem.
- Consequences: “When we pick up one end of the stick, we pick up the other.”
- Chasing after the poisonous snake that bites us will only drive the poison through our entire system. It is far better to take measures immediately to get the poison out.
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
- If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.
- All things are created twice. There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation, to all things.
- Management is a bottom line focus: How can I best accomplish certain things? Leadership deals with the top line: What are the things I want to accomplish?
- There is a real difference, all the difference in the world, in the effectiveness of a mission statement created by everyone involved in the organization and one written by a few top executives behind a mahogany wall.
- No involvement, no commitment.
Habit 3: Put First Things First
- “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” Goethe
- “The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do.” – E.M. Gray
- The essence of the best thinking in the area of time management can be captured in a single phrase: Organize and execute around priorities.
- I’ve tried to give 10 minutes of “quality time” to an employee to solve a problem, only to discover such “efficiency” creates new problems and seldom resolves the deepest concern.
- With immature people, you specify fewer desired results and more guidelines, identify more resources, conduct more frequent accountability interviews, and apply more immediate consequences.
- You can’t have the fruits without the roots. Self-mastery and self-discipline are the foundation of good relationships with others.
Habit 4: Think Win/Win
- Win/Win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions. Win/Win means that agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial, mutually satisfying. All parties feel good about the decision and feel committed to the action plan.
- Win/Win is a belief in the Third Alternative. It’s not your way or my way; it’s a better way, a higher way.
- Partnership agreements shift the paradigm of productive interaction from hovering supervision to self-supervision.
- I am always amazed at the results that happen, both to individuals and to organizations, when responsible, proactive, self-directing individuals are turned loose on a task.
- Consequences become the natural or logical result of performance rather than a reward or punishment arbitrarily handed out by the person in charge.
- If you put good people in bad systems, you get bad results. You have to water the flowers you want to grow.
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
- We have such a tendency to rush in, to fix things up with good advice. But we often fail to take the time to diagnose, to really, deeply understand the problem first.
- Very few of us ever practice empathetic listening: listening with intent to understand. Empathetic listening gets inside another person’s frame of reference.
- Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival – to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated.
- The professional has to have the integrity to say, “My product or service will not meet that need” if it will not.
- When you can present your own ideas in the context of a deep understanding of other people’s paradigms and concerns, you significantly increase the credibility of your ideas.
Habit 6: Synergize
- Synergy is almost as if a group collectively agrees to subordinate old scripts and to write a new one.
- I felt that experiencing synergy was more powerful than talking about it, that producing something new was more meaningful than simply reading something old.
- Valuing the differences is the essence of synergy – the mental, the emotional, the psychological differences between people.
- The person who is truly effective has the humility and reverence to recognize his own perceptual limitations and to appreciate the rich resources available through interaction with other human beings.
- When we’re left or own experiences, we constantly suffer from a shortage of data.
- As a result, new goals, shared goals, are created, and the whole enterprise moves upward, often in ways that no one could have anticipated. The excitement contained within that movement creates a new culture.
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw – Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal
- Habit 7 is taking time to sharpen the saw. It surrounds the other habits on the Seven Habits paradigm because it is the habit that makes all the others possible. Renew the four dimensions of your nature – physical, spiritual, mental, and social/emotional.
If you’d like to talk more about The 7 Habits or how to improve your ISV business, please reach out to me. My job as a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services is to work with Vantiv partners to help them with hiring right, developing staff professional development programs, improving customer service, and more. Just drop me a line at Jim.Roddy@vantiv.com and we can set up a time to talk.
Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of the book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer.