Thursday, March 24, 2005

The 8th Habit

Everybody has either read or at least heard of Dr. Stephen R. Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He succeeded that book with a new one, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness, which is about finding and finding "your voice" to transcend the environments in which we find ourselves and helping others to do the same. As his web site puts it:

We must tap into the voice of the human spirit -- full of hope and intelligence -- and encompass the soul of organizations so they can survive, thrive and profoundly impact the future of the world. Tapping into these higher reaches of human genius and motivation -- what we would call voice -- requires the 8th Habit.

The 8th Habit is about seeing and harnessing the power of a third dimension to the 7 Habits that meets this central challenge of the new Knowledge Worker Age. It is about finding your voice and helping others to find theirs. Voice is unique personal significance -- significance that is revealed as we face our greatest challenges and that makes us equal to them.

When you engage in work that taps your talent and fuels your passion -- that rises out of a great need in the world that you feel drawn by conscience to meet -- therein lies your voice, your calling, your soul's code. The purpose of The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness is to give you a roadmap that will lead you from pain and frustration to true fulfillment, relevance, significance, and contribution in today's new landscape -- not only in your work and organization, but also in your whole life.

I haven't personally read the book, but I have skimmed through enough of it to get a sense that it's really about true leadership and how not only to rise above everything around you, but how to help others do so as well.

All of us entrepreneurs need to do a dramatically better job of finding our own voices as well as helping others to find theirs.

Maybe we need to come up with a customer-oriented version of The 8th Habit which is about how we help customers see new ways of addressing their needs in a way that goes far beyond mere "win-win" to "giant win-giant win". After all, the best customers are not simply those from whom you directly earn a significant profit, but those who feel so energized by your products and services that they can't help but tell (and sell) others as well.

-- Jack Krupansky

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