The 8th Habit

The 8th Habit : From 7 habits of effectiveness to greatness.

Dr Covey introduces the four roles of the new leader – modelling, pathfinding, aligning and empowering – and how those qualities can change you and your organisation. He discusses how trust can be lost throughout organisations and how it is imperative that any organisation bring trust back to the company if it is to survive. 

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The 8th Habit — Book Review

Slightly longer than the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, but the 8th Habit only has 1 habit, the 8th. Oh yes, there’s also a CD to helps explain the 8th habits further. But it is a worthwhile book to read. A good extension from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and a great tool for anyone in the workforce.


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✔ The 8th Habit 2 aspects: (1) finding your own unique voice and (2) helping others find theirs.
✔ The 8th Habit is a continuity from the first 7 habits.
✔ Most still operate under a flawed Industrial Age paradigm.
✔ Substitute Industrial Age for Knowledge Worker paradigm.
✔ Excellence and mediocrity is a personal choice.
✔ Your power of choice depends on four essential elements: mind, body, heart, soul.
✔ Four traits of extraordinary people: vision, discipline, passion and moral conscience.
✔ To find your unique voice, help others else find theirs.
✔ The ultimate purpose of mastering the 8 habits is to serve others. (7 Effective habits + the 8th habits)

The 8th Habit — Book Summary

The Problem with Industrial Age Paradigm

Most management still works under the flawed industrial age paradigm. Hence, we need a new paradigm. A better one. The good news, there’s a better alternative, the knowledge worker paradigm.


A paradigm is powerful.

The 8th Habit is not just 7 Habits plus one that got left behind.

The old industrial age paradigm view people as a process input, just a raw material. Hence, people merely treated as things. Hence, people management system were horrendous. They were not managed as a whole individual consisting of heart, mind, body and spirit, but rather as a controllable object — often needed to be scrutinized to deliver results.

“What happens when you manage people like things? They stop believing that leadership can become a choice.”

The problem when we manage people like things

Hence, the 8th habit seeks to fix this. To harness the power of a third dimension to the existing 7 habits that were a response to the central challenge of the new knowledge worker age. The 8th habit is to find our voice and to help others find theirs. And, in this context, “voice” is the unique personal significance each human offers, and can bring to bear at work.

“It is the voice of the human spirit – full of hope and intelligence, resilient by nature, boundless in its potential to serve the common good. This voice also encompasses the soul of organizations that will survive, thrive and have a profound impact on the future of the world.”


Making a Difference

“The fundamental reality is, human beings are not things needing to be motivated and controlled; they are four dimensional – body, mind, heart and spirit.”

Story of a colonel with more than 30 years of service commanded a military base. Instead of retiring, he decided to stay and push through a landmark cultural change inside his organization. He knew it would be a major battle.

When asked why he didn’t simply retire and avoid the mess altogether, the colonel explained that his father’s last whispered words on his deathbed were, “Son, don’t do life as I did. I didn’t do right by you or your mother and never really made a difference.” — which to me means do your best and live out your life without regrets. The colonel was determined to implement cultural changes that would have a positive impact on his command long after he was gone.

Everyone has the choice the colonel made: live with mediocrity or strive for greatness. The good news is that if you have chosen mediocrity, it’s never too late to turn back. You can choose greatness instead.

live with mediocrity or strive for greatness.


Finding our unique voice

Finding our unique voice means fulfilling our innate potential. The greatest gift you received at birth was the ability to decide whether to develop our fullest capacities. To truly know that the limit of our capacities was a self-limiting one, the one we impose on ourself.

We have a choice in the space or time between every action and every reaction. To reflect on what has happened and determine our response.

The ability to understand our power to choose opens the door to four vital intelligence or capabilities:

1. Mind: IQ is mental intelligence

Many people stop here when evaluating intelligence, but it is too restrictive.

2. Body: PQ is physical intelligence

This form of intelligence is often discounted because it takes place without our consciousness. For example, we do not have to think to breathe or to make our heartbeat.

Yet this intelligence responds continuously to the environment to maintain health, ward off infection and so forth.


3. Heart: EQ is emotional intelligence

You must be an aware, sensitive and empathetic person to communicate with others on a genuine level. A person with a strong EQ knows what to say and when to say it, how to feel and how to express those feelings.

Substantial evidence indicates that over the long run EQ is a stronger determinant of success than IQ.

4. Spirit or soul: SQ is spiritual intelligence 

Our drive for meaning and purpose leads us to develop our SQ. Hence, making this is the most central intelligence.


Highest Expressions

We need to be in touch with our four elements: the mind, body, heart and spirit, in order for us to find our own unique voice. The prevailing pattern of great achievers and their story on struggle and effort emphasized on their vision, discipline, passion and conscience.

They use these four powerful combinations to propel themselves to glory:

1. Mind Vision 

Vision is something we gain when we developed our mind. It refers to the ability to recognize the highest potential not only in ourselves, but also in other people, institutions, and causes. An easy tell sign of those who suffer from a failure of vision would be a lack of ability to create or who tend to discourage others from their creativity.

Simply put, they are unable to see the wonderful possibilities within circumstances of great need. Without vision, anyone can be infected with a “victim mindset”.

Don’t be one of those people.

2. Body Discipline

We need discipline in order to transform any vision, dreams or goals we have into a reality. Discipline with an actionable plan is the product of both vision and commitment. Both are essential.

Remember, hope is not a strategy. Keep that in mind.


3. Heart Passion

A wise heart will have a passionate fire of conviction to sustain the required level of discipline needed to achieve a vision. Without passion, most would quit half-way.

4. Spirit Conscience

Serves as a guiding lighthouse, a definitive moral compass, that will guide us in everything we do. A mental identity of a personal image.


Leadership Defined

Leadership is the ability to help people understand their own true worth and potential, so they see it in themselves and live accordingly.

Nurture Trust

The Industrial Age paradigm failed to nurture trust by being boss-centric. This took power away from people and misaligned the interests of the individual and the organization.

The alternative?

This is where the 8th Habit and the 7 Habits comes into the picture. The process begins with developing the four intelligences, finding your voice and expressing it.

“The new Knowledge Worker Age is based on a new paradigm, one entirely different than the thing paradigm of the Industrial Age. Let’s call it the Whole-Person Paradigm.”

In the Whole-Person Paradigm, in order to be a leader, you need to prove yourself trustworthy. Most leadership failures probably can be traced back to failures of character. Therefore, every leader must exemplify core values such as keeping promises and demonstrating honesty and integrity.


Empower Others

Why should you empower others to find their voices?

Consider the alternatives. We could try to lead them by controlling them which rarely proves satisfactory.

Or we could abdicate responsibility, and let them do whatever they want, hence, all things might go south and we have no control whatsoever.

“Most people think of leadership as a position and therefore don’t see themselves as leaders.”

Directed autonomy

The solution is to give others directed autonomy.

Work with them to establish their objectives and then give them the autonomy to achieve those goals. Focus on a win-win agreement that is a psychological and social contract written into their hearts and minds. An agreement from them for a shared commitment.

Win-win empowerment is especially valuable during evaluations. And in a high-trust culture, people are more likely to appraise themselves effectively. Particularly if coupled with good 360-degree feedback.


How do we practice the 8th habit?

“Execution is the great unaddressed issue in most organizations today.”

Here are some ideas we could use as inspiration —

1. Modelling

Prove yourself trustworthy through your actions, rather than imposing expectations on others.

Listen to others and practice behaviours that ultimately will give you moral authority.

2. Pathfinding

Create a sense of direction and order for your organization.

3. Aligning

Help your organization to nurture trust and empowerment. Proper alignment results in institutional moral authority.


4. Empowering

Begin with the acceptance of the four elements of a person’s nature – heart, mind, body, spirit – and embrace them.

Have faith in people’s ability to choose wisely for themselves and trust them to be able to execute that themselves.

As Peter Drucker said, “So much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work.”

“No matter how long we’ve walked life’s pathway to mediocrity, we can always choose to switch paths. Always. It’s never too late. We can find our voice.”


Gaps in Implementing Empowerment

These are six gaps that need to be addressed in ensuring smooth implementation of empowerment.

1. The “clarity” gap

✘ The old Industrial Age approach was to announce a program to the workforce and expect them to understand it.
✘ Mission statements became mere PR initiatives; workers would wait to see what really happened.
✔ In the Knowledge Worker Age, new initiatives need identification, involvement and buy-in from workers.

2. The “commitment” gap

✘ Don’t “sell” new ideas to the workforce
✔ Respects the whole person.
✔ Takes into account the welfare of each person’s body, mind, heart and spirit.

3. The “translation” gap

✘ This is done not by job descriptions
✔ This is done by aligning goals and incentives with the desired results.


4. The “enabling” gap

✘ People aren’t an expense
✔ Establish scoreboards which match capabilities desired results.
✔ Let people know how the organization’ structure are aligned to enable them to achieve the desired objective.

5. The “synergy” gap

✔ To have synergy, managers must understand the Third Alternative.
✔ When two ideas conflict, managers can arrive at a third position that is agreeable to both parties through empathic listening and creative thinking.
✔ The Third Alternative, an 8th Habit form of communication that harmonizes various interests.

6. The “accountability” gap

✔ The Industrial Age process was simple: carrot and stick.
✔ The new way involves mutual accountability and an open comparison of the progress made toward the achievement of a goal.
✔ The scoreboard continually shows the score.


Serving Others

That’s the end in mind. That’s what the 8th habits are all about. To serve others. The notion of service above self lends anyone the moral authority of a great leader.

Remember the right question to is —

The question isn’t, “What’s in it for me?”

It is, “What’s in me that I can give others?”

Consider the words of Abraham Lincoln:

‘The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present’.

So, begin the 8th habit process of finding your own voice with the end in mind is helping others to find theirs. Know that each person carries within themselves a vast untapped potential. Making them precious assets to you and your organization. And there is no limit to what an organization can accomplish when leadership becomes a choice rather than a position.

Therefore, choose to care for those on your right, on your left. And to lead without a title, without extra pay. To lead simply because you care.


Read The 8th Habit



Author: Muhamad Aarif

A notorious book addict by night and an oil and gas executive by day. As Mark Twain said, "The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." So, read, read, and read some more.

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