In a 7-part series that begins Saturday, April 2nd, I will explore how Steven Covey’s 7 habits can be practiced by college faculty, particularly those new to the art of teaching. I will show you how making Covey’s habits your habits will make you a better instructor.
Put First Things First
Stephen Covey’s 3rd Habit of Highly Effective People is to “Put First Things First.” Covey sets the framework for this practice by introducing the Time Management Matrix on page 151 of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I bet you have seen one version or another of this in the past. It provides an interesting lens through which to view our lives. To use a common idiom, this can be an “eye opening” lens. Covey contrasts the important activities in our lives with the unimportant. Then he categorizes them as urgent or not urgent. Crises and major problems are important and urgent, while planning and relationship building are important though not urgent. You get the point.
Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
Stephen Covey’s 5th Habit of Highly Effective People addresses an important aspect of interpersonal communication. Covey begins with a claim that really applies to me. He says, “We have such a tendency to rush in, to fix things up with good advice. But we often fail to take the time to diagnose, to really, deeply understand the problem first,” (p. 237). As with Covey’s other habits, this one has some unique applications for college faculty members. I will begin with one of the most important things college instructors need to understand about understanding. Covey doesn’t cover this.