This month of the year you are highly likely setting goals, or reviewing the ones you had. You are considering ending a bad habit or starting a new, good one. Well, if I can be of any help, please keep reading.

A couple of weeks ago I re-read the book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Steven Covey. This very famous book presents 7 habits successful people have. They are the following:

  1. Be proactive
  2. Begin with the end in mind
  3. Put first things first
  4. Think win-win
  5. Seek first to understand, and then to be understood
  6. Synergize
  7. Sharpen the saw

It got me thinking about my habits and those of the people around me. To be proactive is to not sit and wait in a reactive mode, waiting for problems to happen. In my job we do this by convincing Partners to collaborate on issues such as welfare state and artificial intelligence now, to avoid problems and setbacks in the future.

To begin with the end in mind means to think of what you want in the future so that you can plan and work towards it. Because, how can you plan if you don’t know where you are going? This is something that Eurapco is learning to do. We try to understand what will happen in the future and what the impact will be for the insurance industry. Only when we understand where we are heading, we can make a plan to work towards it.

The habit ‘Put first things first’ is all about priority. What is important and urgent, what is important and not urgent and what is not important but urgent. In this order you can start prioritizing the steps in your plan. Important to note is that everyone prioritizes differently. With so many personalities and cultures in the Eurapco office it’s important to understand this. That’s why we work towards understanding each other through knowing our motives and ways of working. I can write a whole other blog on this subject!

Think win-win is about having mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. It means understanding that a win for both parties is better in the long-term. This habit really relates to Eurapco and the work we do. We create value together and the trust and mutual benefits this brings is a backbone of the company. I really believe this habit inspires me and those around me every day.

To seek first to understand, and then to be understood is another one of the habits. It relates to listening empathetically to truly understand a person. He presents an order in which you should present yourself: your character, your relationships and then the logic. As mentioned earlier, Eurapco works hard to create understanding within the team and the organization, so that we can then be understood by others.

The next habit resonates with me personally as a leader. To synergize is to combine the strengths of people through positive team work to achieve goals that could not have been done alone. I have been managing teams throughout my career and combining the strengths of people. It is something I love to do. At Eurapco we believe that by combining each other’s strength, we achieve things better, faster, or more cost effectively.

The last habit ‘Sharpen the saw’ is about continuous improvement. It is exactly what most of us are doing at this time of year. Re-assessing the goals you set and setting new ones. Sustainability is stressed for this habit. Many of us use New Year’s resolutions for the short-term, so keep in mind that your goals should be sustained throughout the year and even longer!

These are my thoughts on the habits of highly effective people. Do you or your company have them? Which one are you working on or which one of the habits are you setting for the upcoming year? I would love to hear from you!


Source: Covey, S. R. (1989). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. New York City, NY, USA: The Free Press.

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