Monday, October 19, 2009

Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind

Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind

To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you’re going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction.

Covey calls this the habit of personal leadership - leading oneself that is; towards what you consider your aims. By developing the habit of concentrating on relevant activities you will build a platform to avoid distractions and become more productive and successful.

Begin with the End in Mind means to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of your desired direction and destination, and then continue by flexing your proactive muscles to make things happen.

Begin with the end in mind is based on principle that all things are created twice. There’s a mental or first creation and a physical or second creation to all things. Habit 2 is based on principles of personal leadership, which means that leadership is the first creation. Leadership deals with the top line: what are the things I want to accomplish? Management is doing things right; leadership is doing right things.

Proactivity is based on the endowment of self-awareness. Two additional endowments enable us to expand our proactivity and to exercise personal leadership in our lives:

  • Imagination allows to visualize our potential
  • Conscience allows us to develop our talents within the context of principles and personal guidelines.

The most effective way to begin with the end in mind is to develop personal mission statement. It focuses on what you want to be (character) and to do (contributions and achievements) and on the values or principles upon which being and doing are based. Personal Mission Statement is lists of values that we wish to follow that will help us reach our desired destination. Our circle of influence and level of proactivity will help form these values, as will our roles and responsibilities.

Whatever is at the center of our life will be the source of our security, guidance, wisdom and power. Roles and goals give structure and organized direction to your personal mission. Our lives need to be centered on correct principles -- deep, fundamental truths, classic truths, and generic common denominators. As a principle centered person, you try standing apart from the emotions of situations and from other factors to evaluate options. We usually think of centeredness in terms of "self" as in only thinking of your self. Covey goes on to break this down further into more granular groups: Spouse, Family, Money, Work, Possessions, Pleasure, Friend, Enemy, Church, Self.

A person can be in one or more of these groups and ideally we need to find a balance between all centers as this will lead us to our core values and principles on which we will base our paradigms and mission statement.

Organizational mission statements will be more effective if developed and supported by all members of an organization rather than prescribed. We want to develop a principle-centered personal mission statement. Extend the mission statement into long-term goals based on personal principles.