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The Seattle Times profiles author and motivational speaker Stephen Covey, who published the highly successful “The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People” back in 1989, and how has published “The 8th Habit,” which adds a new suggestion to his list.

FYI, the original seven habits were:

  • Be proactive about changing the things you are able to change.

  • Begin with the end in mind. Have a stated long-term goal.

  • Put first things first. Establish balance and priorities among your various roles.

  • Think win/win. Seek agreements and relationships that are mutually beneficial to all parties.

  • Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Practice effective, empathetic listening.

  • Synergize – create a whole larger than the sum of the parts.

  • Sharpen the saw. Take time to renew your physical, mental, social/emotional, and spiritual dimensions.

And now, number eight:

  • Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs.

Covey tells the Times that he was prompted to write the book about a new habit because “people have basically lost their voice. They're alienated from their work. We're in a knowledge age, yet our management principles are from the industrial age. They're the authoritarian, command-and-control models.

“Just take the accounting system: It calls people an expense. Performance appraisal systems are just repugnant to the dignity of people. You give them some nice words, slip in the knife and call that ‘areas for improvement’ and then a few nice words at the end.”

He adds, “Light is the greatest disinfectant. It's true in nature and it's true in organizations. You can't have flaky people or political animals or people who are duplicitous because the culture will not allow it.”
KC's View:
We have to admit to being fairly cynical about self-help books. (It probably comes from having a father who used to take piles of them to the beach during the summer.

That said, there are a number of people who we respect who think a lot of Covey’s work. We’ve never read his stuff, but may have to check this latest one out. After all, we agree with what he told the Times about the importance of people being encouraged to use their own voices. A chorus, after all, is only really stirring if there’s a lot of harmony – people singing the same song, but blending different notes in a way that moves the ear, the heart and the spirit.