A structured approach to Personal Effectiveness

Stephen Covey’s book 'The 7 habits of highly effctive people', is popular with many successful business owners and corporations. The core model in the book (the maturity continuum) addresses effective skills and shows how they link to each other, hence providing a diagnostic as well as a development model.

The ideas in the book are not new, nor does Covey claim them to be his own. He has identified core principles and paradigms of pesonal effectiveness and then shown the linkages. This approach can be very effective when working with logical thinkers, future scientists and engineers, who like to test things rather than just take them for granted, and who like to see structure, not just intuition. It provides structure for what otherwise can be seen as a very subjective subject area.

Key Signature Strengths

Understanding one's natural abilities, rather than one’s acquired competences, can support more sustainable life and career choices. A useful assessment for key signature strengths, is the VIA (Values into Action) or strengths survey can be found at http://www.authentichappiness.org/. The test is available for both adults and young people. This is a useful validation assessment, so many people (young and not so young) are more accustomed to being told what they need to improve rather than being acknowledged for want they do well naturally.

The test, which takes about 20 minutes to complete, identifies the top 5 strengths from 24 strengths (the strengths are linked to the 6 virtues of Wisdom and Knowledge, Courage, Love and Humanity, Justice, Temperance, Spirituality and Transcendence).

Understanding your strengths has two immediate benefits:  

  1. Recognition why you behave differently to achieve the same results as your friends/family – when left to choose, we naturally play to our strengths
  2. How to find work that is more personally satisfying. When we use our strengths we are naturally more engaged in our activity and find it more satisfying