The eighth habit is about inspiring. Covey explains the importance of finding your voice and inspiring others to find theirs because being effective is not everything, you have to move from effectiveness to greatness to be the best.
In this book, Covey said that one who discovers his voice can harness the real human potential. By finding the inner voice it means fulfilling your innate potential. In order to find the inner voice, all four elements of a person (body, mind, heart, and spirit) should work coherently.
He also discusses that leaders should lead from the front by doing extraordinary work instead of taking advantage of their position. They should also play their roles by helping others find their voice.
If we talk about effectiveness, these days it is more of a requirement instead of a choice of a person because it’s not possible to deliver top quality results if you have no idea regarding how to do them the right way.
Regardless of the latest technology, there is still a lack of satisfaction, stress and insecure feelings in the life of human beings which not only contributes to organizational failures but also impacts heavily on the life they desire to live.
These issues are not because humans can’t handle these latest technologies but because of their inability to harness the human potential. When we talk about human potential, back in the industrial age, there was not much difference between the productivity of individuals because at that time the physical strength of humans mattered a lot. There was quite a marginal difference in their productivity because almost everyone used to deliver a similar amount of work.
But, if we compare this with the modern age of today, where there is too much information available to handle jobs at work. Let suppose, a great programmer making use of this knowledge, he can easily outrank an average programmer in terms of productivity.
To address these issues, it’s now time to think one step further and move from effectiveness to greatness. That’s where the concept of 8th Habit from effectiveness to greatness comes in to play because it helps in unleashing the human potential and greatness.
The 8th habit of Covey provides a platform that links effectiveness to greatness. For greatness, it is quite essential to first find your voice and then inspire others to find their voices.
According to him, greatness can be classified into three different types:
- Personal Greatness
- Leadership Greatness
- Organizational Greatness
The personal greatness deals with the first section of this book which is finding your voice whereas, the leadership and organizational greatness comes under the second section which inspires others to find their voice. Let’s discuss them one by one.
Personal greatness is something that is actually present in every human being. It can be increased further if we concentrate on our three birth-rights that are choice, principles, and the four bits of human intelligence (mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual).
Covey, in this book, align these four human bits of intelligence with their highest manifestation as follows:
Mental – Vision – Viewing the possibility in people and projects.
Physical – Discipline – performing all the key jobs to convert the vision into a reality.
Emotional – Passion – the craving that fuels the energy to accomplish the vision.
Spirit – Conscience – the power behind the vision, discipline, and passion.
Working on these things not only makes us a person of character but also a person that is filled with passion, discipline, and vision.
So, how personal greatness helps to find your voice.
In order to find your voice, first, you need to identify all your natural talents which can be different among all. Then you need to discover the work that you love to do because it’s not possible for everyone to enjoy the same job. After that, you need to focus on what interests you because if you portray lack of interest in work, then you can’t deliver your best.
When you are completely involved with what you are doing in your life then you create an atmosphere where all the key elements including mind, heart, body, and spirit are fully involved with all the things that are essential to your life. It not only helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses but also enables you to discover the best possible ways to do that work.
By making use of natural talent and passion, mankind can create wonders. Though it’s not that easy, if they focus on enhancing the four intelligence factors then it can easily become a doable thing.
Leadership greatness is not all about having all the qualities that a great leader should have but it’s also about what other people say regarding you.
Leadership greatness is to inspire other people by setting an example of a great leader instead of making use of the position. It’s not only about defining roles and positions but also about helping others to unlock their potential.
Leadership greatness can be easily achieved if leaders can inspire others to find their voice. They can do that by leading people using principles, helping them stick to a single vision, and authorizing them with all the necessary resources that are necessary to deliver their job.
The challenges of leadership are no doubt quite challenging. To handle them perfectly in the workplace, the right path that can inspire people finding their voice is necessary.
Covey, in this book, gives the example of a sport-man metaphor to understand effective leadership. According to him, if the player likes to get success then he should develop his skills in all aspects otherwise; he can’t get success in his sport plan.
He also explains in detail the four leadership roles – Modelling, Pathfinding, aligning and empowering because he believes that these roles matter a lot in becoming a great leader.
Organizational Greatness is about creating an environment in an organization where everyone commits to excellence instead of only leaders and managers. It depends a lot on the leadership of an organization to place the right person at the right job so that they can work on the area on which they have the expertise.
Organizational Greatness can be achieved easily if the organization successfully executes their leadership roles along with their vision and mission.
Covey, in this book, highlights four disciplines which he believes can greatly enhance the ability of an organization to deliver their top priorities.
Discipline 1: Focus on the Wildly Important
Normally, people have the tendency to focus on only one task at a time so that they can bring top quality results. That’s why it is extremely important for an organization to set priority among its goals so that the most important things remain a top priority.
Discipline 2 – Create a Compelling Scorecard
By creating a compelling scorecard, it becomes easy to motivate people. It also helps to make the strategies and plans less intellectual then without having a scorecard.
Discipline 3 – Translate Lofty Goals into Specific Actions
For goals to be achieved successfully, it is important that every member of the team knows their job otherwise; it will be impossible to achieve the goals.
Discipline 4 – Hold Each Other Accountable All the Time
Accountability means providing the answers to all the actions and decisions. When we hold each other accountable means that they are being asked to explain why they did or why they didn’t do something. It helps to create a sense of responsibility among everyone which helps organizations deliver better results.
The Sweet Spot
Covey, also discusses the sweet spot in this book. According to him, it is the stage where personal, leadership and organizational goals overlap with each other. Covey said that it can only be achieved by the organizations that work around all the three forms of greatness.
One of the key takeaways of this habit is the freedom to react in all situations like if someone talks to you badly then you have the right to either to let it go or do something about it.
You should be the one to portray a humble attitude, and should always be the first one to deliver the task you committed to. By taking the front you will help others to portray the same attitude towards goal achievement. Similarly, if you are not sure whether you can deliver or not, then better not to promise.
Effective leadership is all about helping people achieve their goals. By finding your voice, you get the power to lead people in such a way that helps them manage their jobs proficiently.
Everyone likes to be productive at work but those who find their voices and make use of their strengths can only get real success.
Sitting around and waiting for things to change can never work, you have to change your attitude by taking actions to get things done.
Give freedom of decision to people by allowing them to take the decision related to their work. It will not only help them feel motivated but also enable them to show trust in you.
The core idea behind finding your voice and inspiring others to find theirs is a synergistic idea. It is the combination of intelligence and limits that helps to discover the human potential. Covey strongly believes that if the intelligence and abilities are combined together like an integrated force, then it can effortlessly bring fruitful results not only for the individual but also for the organization as a whole.
Regardless of what your work is, you will want to succeed in it. Everyone works with the goal of success. Productivity plays a big role in that success.
I once worked for a media company in the technology space. Oh, it was a dream come true. Why wouldn’t it be? I got the chance to write about the latest trends in...
Interviews with Highly Effective People: Vincent Vergonjeanne on Charisma and Leadership
It takes a lot to be a successful entrepreneur. But before we look at the attributes, let’s first take a closer look at the history behind the development and meaning of the word...