The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Stephen R. Covey
Contributed by Margherita Wickersham
Reviews

Stephen Covey combines the habits by utilizing the concept of continuous development from relying on others to independence to interdependence (1989). Covey generalizes that all people desire to live, grow and participate economically in a world that has the rule of law, equity in rights, high standards of life, unlimited freedom and justice such that everyone has the position they desire and one will always have the support of most of the earth’s population. Fenwick et al. state that, unfortunately, the ideal world created by Covey in seven habits does not exist and never will (1989). I tend to agree with this school of thought because the reality is that one will always face resistance to their progress from some people whether one is a good persona or not.

Sibgatulin & Timur tend to disagree with Stephen Covey on various issues. The author of seven habits that help people to achieve success gives a United States paradigm which sounds intensely approximate and gives the sense to dispute (2014). Sibgatulin & Timur gives an instance of the shortcoming of Covey by stating that covey fails to disclose his meaning of the standard of living (1989). Digging for the definition of standard of living from Human Development report by the UN, the standard of living is described fully meeting sanitary conditions, enough food availability, better lifestyle, availability of education and culture, presence of employment and income, recreation availability, a security system and maintaining rule of law (Malik, 2014). The idea covey portrays that America does not meet the indices of proper standards of living needs an appeal since Covey fails to indicate his source and basis of the ideology. Covey leaves people with the question of what indeed a proper standard of living is thus a clear and precise citation of his claims needed to be included.

Stephen Covey presents the first habit of being proactive which highly competent people have this particular quality. The author supports his habit of proactive by giving an example of proactive and reactive individuals and further states that people are responsible for the fate that occurs in their life (Covey, 1989). Furthermore, covey states that the ability of proactive people results in products of their decisions that are fundamental to their values. On the other hand, reactive people construct their emotional lives based on the behavior of the people around them. When these opinions are analyzed, controversial ideas are brought forth since such views have no place in corporate business or even in politics (Fenwick et al., 1995). For instance, the occupation of being a broker cannot utilize the concept of being proactive since their work solely depends on the market changes for them to transact. Coveys habit of being proactive should not be a one size fits all since there will always be unique experiences which do not need the application of being proactive thus one cannot generalize.

Covey faces excellent criticism from postmodernists who are always suspicious of people presuming presently one best theory that is meant to fit everyone universally. Sibgatulin & Timur disagrees with the grand approach introduced by covey fails to feed the presence of diversity in the society (2014). Postmodernists solidify their argument by stating that people and communities from all over the world have variety and thus should be treated in line with their uniqueness. The latter vantage point, Coveys metanarrative is not only dangerous but also impractical to people. The existence of multiple and unique knowledge’s by people and trying to unify them by the formation of one set criteria of judgment limits and denies the particular community of its uniqueness. From post modernist’s point of view, Covey’s philosophy becomes the antithesis of modernism such that the authors work to acknowledge that there are possibilities of different ideologies of how people see the world.

According to Covey, think win-win signifies that the interaction between parties feels better about the choice of getting committed to work (1989). However, Fenwick et al. disputes against this allegation may arise from people who follow the game theory (1995). Game theorists state that two groups or more people have to struggle to get their interests such that each group has their objectives and strategies which the most immediate result is a win or loss. Currently, there exists stiff competition as well as the adversarial fact of win-lose compared to the win-win channel. It is a fact that the only factor that favors the growth of the business is the presence of competition. The only way businesses make profits and become successful is through competition thus companies fight to minimize their losses. Competition is a daily aspect of life, and no one can evade since it is the force that selects chuff from the grain and should be appreciated.

Sibgatulin & Timur points out that Stephen Covey fails to give his definition of what he comprehends by being highly effective (2014). In essence, provides detailed information about what can take for one to become highly effective but fails to tell the reader of the exceptions to some individuals and some business fraternities. As an ardent researcher and a personality who has read and studied far and wide, he should have indicated his research gaps towards being critical instead of providing research that has one size fits all which is never the case in real life experiences.

The seven habits cannot be disputed that it has brought in great influence on the lives of people and companies. Jackson & Bradley argue that using the school of thought that the seven habits are a specific channel to happiness and success is however questionable (1999). Covey utilizes the statistics of Happy Planet Indexes well as the Workforce Productivity to stress the importance of his seven habits to efficiency. Based on the statistics he bases his entire book on the qualities of the profoundly happy and satisfied nations. However, statistics carried out in 2012 on the happiest countries reported that Costa Rica, Colombia, and Vietnam are the happiest countries yet none of them have a GDP per capita of more than 15000$. The state with the highest OECD, Israel, ranked position fifteen and the top nation in OECD, Norway ranked 29th place in the parameter of happiness (Helliwel, 2012). The statistics signify that different settings of joy exist such that the paramount sign of productivity is the level of innovation which means the theory of proactivity needs revision.

Feminists also have a bone chew with Stephen Covey regarding his book on seven habits to succeed. The approach, in this case, suggests that covey has little regard to the subjective ideas of others especially his wife Sandra whose insights and opinions are virtually brushed aside throughout the book (Sinbutilin & Timur, 2014). The reader can identify that if Sandra's recognition as helpful, she is recognized as an assistant secondary to Covey's own experiences and strategies. When dealing with the problems they experience with their son, Sandra appears to take a secondary role in solving the crisis of their son, and it was only fair if the author recognized the part of the woman in better essential ways.

Pedagogically, Covey seems wrong to presume that all the power to act rests solely on an individual’s ability to change their lives through their choices, the fact that people are responsible for their fate (Haimes & Yacov, 2001). The author suggests that people should not only accept the responsibility for their problems but also take up the challenge of changing their situations since nothing restricts their decisions. Covey’s course advocates for oppression that comes from the external factors that affect people lives regardless of their efforts. Stephen Covey fails to acknowledge the fact that other factors beyond the control of a person control people’s success. The fact that external structures such as government policies, politics and the law affecting society exist, means people have to put into context the structures when making decisions. The factor of presenting other people as the authors of their problems and he the wise problem solver victimizes and diminishes people yet other factors other than the inner self that affects people exist.

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