Ready for A Challenge?

by Jun 20, 2021

Ready for A Challenge?

Are you willing to find out what you may not know????

I have a challenge for each of you this week. Let’s see who the truly curious are, and who believes they “know it all” already.

One of the greatest thinkers about people and organizations of our time was Stephen Covey. Lost to us not so long ago, his practical insight into people will be forever studied and followed by those that care about others.

One of his best works ever was the study of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (notice that his aim was at ALL people, ALL roles, everywhere).

From Wikipedia: ” Covey presents an approach to being effective in attaining goals by aligning oneself to what he calls “true north” principles based on a character ethic that he presents as universal and timeless. Covey defines effectiveness as the balance of obtaining desirable results with caring for that which produces those results. He illustrates this by referring to the fable of the goose that laid the golden eggs.”

A short summary of the 7 Habits is below with direct excerpts from his work.

The Seven Habits are….

Habit 1: Be Proactive®
Focus and act on what they can control and influence, instead of what you can’t.

Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind®
Define clear measures of success and a plan to achieve them.

Habit 3: Put First Things First®
Prioritize and achieve their most important goals, instead of constantly reacting to urgencies.

Habit 4: Think Win-Win®
Collaborate more effectively by building high-trust relationships.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood®
Influence others by developing a deep understanding of their needs and perspectives.

Habit 6: Synergize®
Develop innovative solutions that leverage diversity and satisfy all key stakeholders.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw®
Increase motivation, energy, and work/life balance by making time for renewing activities.

Written in 1989 Covey, even then, talks about the value of diversity in our world (Habit 6). Where I want to go today is with Habit 5 (Seek first to understand before being understood).

So here is my challenge to us all….

Ask this simple question of many that you know and trust AND that will be candid with you.

“Dear Friend, when you close your eyes and envision me, which of these two visual images come into your mind… a GIANT EAR, or a GIANT MOUTH?”

You want a candid answer? Ask your “significant other!”

This habit of listening first is SO difficult to build into our way of communicating. And my experience is that the most intelligent of those around us are the least likely to do this well. While this is only my correlation, I believe that the higher the IQ the less likely a person is to actually listen to those around them. Thankfully this does not apply always.

I know of two people that I have worked closely with over the past 30 years that are truly brilliant AND are natural listeners. That last part is critical. If in your informal “survey of EAR vs MOUTH” you find a surprise or two, then I suggest that it is time to LEARN the art of actually listening. Not just on a surface level, but on a perspective of actually WANTING to know what someone else thinks and cares about.

The first most obvious trait, of a non-listener, is if that person regularly interrupts another person that is speaking, to “correct” them or let them know that they are off base. Not letting another person complete their thought is a weakness of many folks. I see this happen on a daily basis. I hear this happen in conversations with clients, peers, family, friends, all around us in the stress-filled environment that our world has shifted into. Great minds hard at work, solving problems, AND not listening.

Try the EAR/MOUTH survey… and as my DAD would tell me even as a punk kid…. “Mitch….shut up AND listen”.

Your next challenge is to help the natural “interrupters” break their old habits and develop new HABITS from the 7 HABITS world.

OK, LET’S ROLL… and really LISTEN!


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