Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a timeless map for finding success in professional and personal relationships, and ultimately in your career. In his book, Covey helps his readers understand the pillars of productive behavior, outlining how each habit will impact our effectiveness in life.
While all seven habits are very much worthwhile, three of his habits particularly resonate with us because they highlight ODEM values: begin with the end in mind (habit #2), think win-win (habit #4), and seek first to understand, then to be understood (habit #5). These three habits also provide a strong foundation for new graduates. Here’s why:
Habit #2 | Begin with the end in mind
This habit is about acting with your desired outcome in mind. With each decision you make that takes you further down life’s path, consider whether the action will drive you towards your end goal. To do this, you must know what you want the ‘big picture’ to look like. What are you striving for? What would you like to achieve?
Perhaps you would like to narrow your professional focus so that you can serve a niche within the market. Maybe you’d like to switch careers for the job you’ve always dreamed of. Understanding what life looks like after you’ve put in the hard work gives you a road map to follow. Big and little decisions should be made with this big picture in mind. Stephen Covey explains it as having a vision for our lives and determining what values will guide us towards that vision.
Beginning with the end in mind is a habit focused on serving self. Learning to evaluate choices based on whether the various outcomes support your personal objectives is a big step towards independence. This is a guiding principle at ODEM, in which we evaluate each of the courses added to the Platform for their unique content, what the student experience will be like, and whether the course will give the student an industry advantage. Only the courses that serve these objectives are added and made available to you at ODEM.
Habit #4 | Think win-win
Win-win situations favor both parties involved; instead of one person winning and the other losing, both people feel that they have a successful outcome. This habit builds communication skills, collaboration and teamwork.
Thinking win-win becomes natural when you have a mentality of abundance rather than scarcity. Abundance means that there’s room for all to enjoy success, whereas scarcity means there’s only enough success for one. Thinking in terms of abundance provides opportunities to better the outcome for your peers, colleagues, friends and family. Ultimately, it’s a mindset that will serve you well both in practice and reputation.
Mutually beneficial outcomes strengthen relationships which creates alliances between parties. ODEM was built on this concept, providing a platform that equally serves students and employers. Students receive the continued learning experience they seek, while employers receive well-trained employees who understand the needs of today’s job market.
Habit #5 | Seek first to understand, then to be understood
Before providing guidance to a peer, a recommendation to a client, or a product to the market, seek first to understand the nuances of the problem you’re looking to solve.
Habit five is about deeply understanding the people who we seek to serve. Listening achieves this, and while it seems a simple solution to a successful outcome, it isn’t. Too often we prepare responses that serve us rather than the person or group we’re engaged with. Empathetic listening and prioritizing the concerns of others, leads to true understanding, a better connection, and an opportunity to provide a meaningful solution.
We seek to achieve this habit in our work with students, educators, and employers. What is it that students want from online courses and continued education? What do educators wish to provide their students, and what do employers require from online courses to ensure success in the workplace? Our mission at ODEM is to ensure that each of the courses we provide serves the needs of students while simultaneously meeting the needs of employers and educators. We engage industry professionals, company executives, and teachers to understand how we can provide a valuable solution. With this in mind, we develop our course offerings for the Platform.
Two more from ODEM
We’d like to take the liberty of adding two more recommendations to the list: follow your passion and stay hungry.
Passion makes everything worthwhile. Following your passions in life makes everyday more enjoyable, and notably makes work not feel like work. But life’s demands can get in the way of passion-filled pursuits, and work can be a necessity rather than a pleasure. This is one of the reasons why we believe in online courses; they’re an effective way to specialize your expertise so that you may pursue the career you’re passionate about.
Figuratively, staying hungry means to continuously seek out new opportunities that may better your circumstances. A hunger for more, or for better, propels you forward to strive for your goals and create the life that you want. Without this motivation, we may not achieve what we desire for ourselves -- it’s an important ingredient in the recipe for success.
Read all of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and join us at ODEM to discover the many course options that can help define your career.