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August 8, 2014

Effectiveness Habits for the 21st Century

Business

Jeff Cochran

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The world has been changing rapidly since Steven Covey published his highly successful book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, in 1989. While those skills still hold some relevance, to be truly effective in the 21st century business world requires a new set of tools and competencies. By updating some of Covey’s original habits and recognizing some newer skill sets prominent among the business elite, you can enhance your effectiveness in today’s business place and take up the role of the exemplary leader and team member.

 Working Towards Collective Action 

Collective action is the 21st century version of Steven Covey’s “synergize” habit. As a business leader, your goal should be to provide effective leadership that allows individuals to not only complete their own tasks effectively, but also unite those tasks into a larger project with a more nuanced mission. This means engaging such basic skills as keeping team members from repeating each other’s work, to more advanced aims of coordinating across departments. Working towards collective action also means being a leader without being overbearing, but rather allowing team members to brainstorm and solve problems independently within larger guidelines.

Look Out for Serendipitous Connections 

For Covey, keeping the end in mind from the very beginning was the way to be most effective in life and business. Today, however, being too focused on end goals can lead to missing out on valuable and surprising serendipitous connections. Be open to new ideas that may change your path or cause you to revise your goals. In the modern business world, what may once have appeared to be strong focus and goal-orientation is today viewed as inflexibility and a lack of creative thinking. Let new connections and opportunities surprise you and learn how to choose the best ideas and integrate them into projects already in progress.

Prioritize Ethical Business Practices

With communication and media everywhere, there isn’t anywhere to hide in today’s business world. This means that to succeed, prioritizing ethical business practices is absolutely vital. Individuals and companies want to know that they are working with businesses that share their values and concerns. Treating others fairly and being transparent about business practices can make your firm a magnet for positive and exponential growth.

Communicate Verbally and Visually 

To be heard over the sheer volume of information today, both spoken and digital, it is important to reinforce your messages in multiple ways. Additionally, communicating verbally and visually allows you to take into account the learning and engagement styles of a larger swath of your company. Help your messages to come through loud and clear by speaking them and also providing written communication. The more clearly you are heard and understood, the more effective you can be in today’s competitive business environment.

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