The 7 Habits for Highly Effective People, a book written by Stephen Covey in 1989, is still relevant in today’s workplace as it teaches principles. Its education version workshop is based on the same seminars that the FranklinCovey/Center for Leadership and Change Inc. offers to corporate managers and employees. In the Education edition, the examples and questions are contextualized in the Philippine setting and repackaged for educators.
The 7 Habits for Highly Effective People are:
Habit 1: Be Proactive
Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind
Habit 3: Put First Things First
Habit 4: Think Win-Win
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Habit 6: Synergize
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
The three-day seminar was taught by Christine Javier, a certified FranklinCovey facilitator. Each session was composed of lectures, videos, discussions, teach-to-learn, reflection time and games.
Things that I have learned from the seminar are the following:
1. Personality Ethic vs. Character Ethic
Most of the literature written on leadership and work effectivity in America during the first 150 years were based on character such as integrity, humility, fidelity, industry, and the Golden Rule. Later, the literature focused on personality such as public image, attitudes and behaviors, skills and techniques. While personality ethic is a good function to determine effectiveness in the workplace, it often presents a superficial or shallow part of the person’s character. The 7 Habits for Highly Effective People is based on principles and upholds the character ethic. This makes the concepts timeless and universal.
2. Clear application of principles
The 7 Habits are associated with concrete examples and highly applicable skills. For example in the discussion of Habit 5 (Seek first to understand, then be understood), there are exercises in empathic listening.
3. Contextualized to school setting
Since this is the education version, the seminar uses examples relating to the Philippine education system. In the discussion of institutional and personal goals, some examples were taken from Philippine schools’ vision mission statements. In addition, the scenarios given are based on the school setting. One exercise that I enjoyed was when we simulated a discussion to apply the sixth habit (Synergize). A fellow educator, Teacher Mari from De La Salle College of Saint Benilde was my partner during the simulation. I acted as the basketball coach while Teacher Mari acted as the math teacher. The situation was that our student Paolo, who is a member of the basketball varsity team, has failing grades in his math subject. It is stipulated in the school policy that a varsity team member must not have a failure in any of his subjects. It was a difficult (yet enjoyable) activity because we know that we both want the best for our students but we also need to follow the policies of the school.
4. Teach to learn mechanism
At the end of every session, we had an activity called Teach to Learn, wherein the participants will teach among themselves the principles discussed. The format is not new to us since all of us were educators during the workshop.
5. Highly transferrable principles
The 7 Habits for Highly Effective Educators seminar presents principles that can be easily taught to as young as five years old kids. As a department chairperson, I have proposed to our school principal that I want to echo the seminar to the teachers at the Integrated Developmental School.
In conclusion, the seminar has greatly presented opportunities for me to shift paradigms in both personal and professional aspect of my life. While the principles are easy to remember and understand, there is a great challenge in applying them in real life.
“Most important, start applying what you are learning. Remember, to learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to do.” -Dr. Stephen R. Covey