Tag Archive second habit

ByMani Prithiviraj

Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind

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In article one and article two, we reviewed Covey’s 7 Habits of Effective people and the First Habit (Be Proactive). We understood how alignment of actions with natural principles, balance of production and production capacity are important. In this post, we will look at the second habit which is “Begin with the End in Mind”. This is the second habit associated with the self.

            “Begin with the End in Mind” means that we need to understand our destination clearly. This is important since it ensures that we take steps to go in the correct direction. Imagine that we are at Bangalore and we want to go to Roorkee. Unless and until we have the destination (Roorkee) in our mind, we cannot select the correct route map that will take us to Roorkee.

            The second habit is based on the principle that all things are created twice. Once in the mind and once physically. If we take the example of building a home, the builder first creates a blue print of the home. He / She then gets the material, workers and equipment, to physically construct the home making sure that it is built according to the specifications in the blue print.

Covey says that we need to realize that there are two creations and take responsibility for both. Leadership is the first creation and Management is the second creation. Peter Drucker and Warren Bennis explain this very well. They describe Leadership as doing the right thing, and Management as doing things right. Leadership focuses on the top line, whereas management focuses on the bottom line. If we take the example of using a ladder to reach our destination, leadership ensures that the ladder leans against the right wall and management ensures that we are efficient in climbing the ladder and get to the destination safely.

Covey says that the best way to “Begin with the End in Mind” is to develop Mission Statements. To build our mission statement, we need to begin at the centre of our circle of influence. The Centre according to him is the source of our security, guidance, wisdom and power. Security is our sense of worth; Guidance is the source of direction in our lives; Wisdom is our perspective on life and understanding how parts and principles apply and relate to each other; Power is the capacity to act and the strength to accomplish something. If we centre our life on correct principles, we create a solid foundation for our security, guidance, wisdom and power.

Mission statements (personal and professional) involve deep thought, participation of all stakeholders and take time to develop. It involves visualization as well as affirmation. Fulfilling mission statements is an on-going process and involves keeping our goals in mind and making sure that we are aligned with correct principles.

Dr. Charles Garfield has done extensive research on peak performers both in athletics and business. His research showed that most of the world class athletes and peak performers in business are all visualizers. They see, feel and experience it before actually doing what it takes them to succeed in their fields.  Simply stated, they begin with the end in mind.  For example an Indian Victory over West Indies in a one day international at Berbice, in West Indies, gave the inspiration and vision to Kapil Dev, that the Windies were beatable. The rest of course is history when India beat the Windies twice in 1983 in England and lifted the world cup.

Hope you enjoyed this post. In the next post, we will look at the 3rd  habit which is “Put First Things First”.

Reference: 25th Anniversary Edition “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey.

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