My brother is well known for a silly joke that he told for years….. Let me set the scene for you. There is a guy and girl… Read more “Hey Joe!”
How many of you watched Super Bowl 50 this year? For those that know me, I am a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, so I didn’t have a favorite… Read more “How Do You Want To Be Remembered?”
Through the many years of my career, I have been honored with requests for interviews, articles, and speaking engagements. In December 2015, I was asked for an… Read more “My Interview with Testing Circus”
If you love software testing, a great conference awaits you in October! STPCon is holding our Fall 2015 conference in Boston this year, October 5-8. (Make sure… Read more “The Best STPCon Ever Is Coming!”
In 1988, Nike launched an ad campaign which would become a common phrase used by the world for many years, even still today. The slogan was “Just… Read more “Just Start It!!”
Early in my career, I became obsessed with personal growth and building my career beyond the limits. I was determined to have no regrets in retirement, never to look back across my legacy, and feel that I had failed to accomplish every goal and objective in my life.
I began looking for that perfect book, that perfect mentor, something to help guide me along the way, coach me to be better each day, to stretch beyond my limits and be different from all those around me. What i found was “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. What I didn’t realize was the tremendous power of the teaching of this great leader. Little did I realize the impact this would make on my life, my career growth, and how I not only set my goals and objectives, but also how that I coached and mentored those who worked with me to grow in their own careers and personal development.
Today I was saddened to hear that we lost Mr. Covey at the age of 79. He left us with not only this wonderful book which sold over 20 million copies in 30 countries, but many other books on leadership and management principles. While his book gave step by step details on how to live and practice the seven habits, simply reading them can give you insight to the simple steps to personal development. I want to share those 7 habits below for the readers:
Independence or Self-Mastery
- 1. Be Proactive
- 2. Begin with the End in Mind
- 3. Put First Things First
- 4. Think Win Win
- 5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
- 6. Synergize
- 7. Sharpen the Saw
Throughout my career, I have quoted this great man to peers, managers, subordinates and friends. I have read the Seven Habits more times than I can count. And every time I do, I learn something new each time. Some of the most memorable quotes are listed below:
- “Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out”
- “Live out your imagination, not your history”
- “Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall”
- “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities”
- “Most of us spend too much time on what is URGENT and not enough time on what is IMPORTANT”
- “The way we see the problem is the problem”
- “Strength lies in DIFFERENCES not in SIMILARITIES”
- “…to learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know”
- “When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective”
- “Two people can see the same thing, disagree, and yet both be right. It’s not logical, it’s psychological”
- “Happiness, like unhappiness, is a proactive choice”
- “People can’t live with change if there’s not a changeless core inside them”
I owe the motivation to become a writer, a motivational leader, a mentor, a coach, and someone that others looked to for support to this great leader, Mr. Covey. His teachings and guidance helped shape so many aspects of my career, personal growth, and leadership principles.
I urge you, readers, to read the works of this great author and leader. While he has left us, one thing he always said in his teachings was that his desire was “..To Live, To Love, and to Leave a Legacy”.
Stephen, you have left a legacy. You will be missed.
Back in 1994, I worked in tech support for year. What an enlightening time. You realize something very early in a tech support role – and that is there are people who know exactly what they are doing, and just need some help, and there are people who have no idea whats going on technically and need a friend to help them resolve their problem.
Our team used a term to describe those who had no clue technically — PICNIC. Which stood for “Problem In Chair, Not In Computer”. It was always comical when someone from the team would say “we have a picnic here….”
Today, I want to discuss a new acronym. One that I recently learned and has changed the way I work from day to day. This term is DWYSYWD (“Do What You Said You Would Do”).
Now I’ve read hundreds of leadership books, motivational materials, time management books, and listened to dozens and dozens of self help, management, and leadership audios. I’ve subscribed to everything that Stephen Covey and John C. Maxwell writes. I especially liked a book by Jeffrey Fox, entitled “How to Become CEO”. What an awesome book that is a quick read, and if you have not read it yet, i encourage you to do so.
But let’s talk about DWYSYWD. How many times in a given day do you make a committment to someone casually, and both of you know that this will never happen? How many times have you said “I’ll look into this today and get you an answer on Friday”, or “you have my word, I’ll give you a call on Wednesday and we’ll work this out”. I’m sure each of you have done this. And I would also be willing to bet that you had every intention to meet that committment.
The problem is that we make so many unwritten commitments every day, that we simply forget some of them. And then we find ourselves on committment Friday standing in front of the person we have made the committment to hearing them ask “so have you got something for me?” and you slap your face and say “oh my gosh! I knew I should have written this down”.
I have one simple suggestion – and I hope that it changes your life like it has mine. Write it down. Write down the committment you have made, the moment you have made it, who you made the committment to, the date you made the committment, and the date you committed to deliver. Then monitor and track this list to ensure you complete the task on time. You may be saying “that works well for my big commitments”, but I challenge this by saying that you should do it for everything. Why keep these commitments in your head. Each of us have too many things going on day after day to retain any of our commitments in our minds.
While this simple process will give you personal freedom and control, the effects of this disciplined approach will reach far beyond your own personal benefit.
Once people see that you are someone who always meets a committment, someone who never forgets a promise, they will gain astounding respect for you and will see you as someone they can count on always to deliver. You will also find that they will feel obligated to reciprocate the same level of committment and dedication to you.
If you are a manager or responsible for people’s careers, you will find that this is a great way to gain respect and support from your team and peers. When you consistently deliver on your commitments, they will feel empowered to meet their commitments to you as well.
You may be saying “I have kept a list for years, I have managed my ‘to-do’ lists always”. This is NOT the same. While keeping a list is a great discipline, you never have full control until you document if this is a committment to someone, and a planned delivery date for that committment. I can tell you from experience, that I too kept a list for dozens of years. I always work from one. But until just recently, I didn’t always keep the person expecting me to deliver or the committment date, and I have seen this new discipline make me extremely focused on delivering and building the trust of those around me.
I solicit your inputs on processes that you have used in your personal lives to manage your commitments as well, and I especially solicit your feedback and replies for anyone who tries this and finds it helpful!!