This article offers us the opportunity to more easily reach our personal and professional goals, developing better private and business relationships. It leads us to reflect on our habits and to change them so that they can lead us to success, both in our private and working lives.
A real guide that accompanies us along the path that will take us from dependence to the renewal process and that will allow us to continuously improve.
The 7 rules are divided into 3 parts: the first three are used to move from addiction to independence, and define private success. The next three allow you to move from independence to interdependence, and define public success. The last one is the renewal process that is necessary to continuously improve ourselves.
Rule 1: Be proactive
Rule 2: Start thinking about the end
This chapter starts with a visualization exercise. Basically: imagine being at your funeral. What would you like a loved one, your best friend, a work colleague, an acquaintance with whom you shared a passion to say about you?
Questo serve ad avere l’immagine della fine della nostra vita come quadro di riferimento, come criterio in base al quale eliminare ogni altra cosa. Cominciare dalla fine significa iniziare con una chiara comprensione della nostra destinazione. Significa sapere dove siamo diretti, per capire meglio dove ci troviamo ora e far sì che compiamo i passi sempre nella direzione giusta. In questo modo siamo sicuri non solo della nostra efficienza, ma anche e soprattutto della nostra efficacia.
Efficiency (typical of management) means doing things in the best way. Effectiveness (typical of leadership) means doing the right things. We achieve personal proactivity and leadership through self-awareness, imagination and consciousness. The best thing to do to start with the end in mind is to develop your mission by expressing it in a personal statement.
We start from the heart of our vision, or rather from our paradigms, and direct it towards our sphere of influence. In writing it, we focus on the ultimate goal and not on the activity to be carried out to achieve it. Writing your mission requires you to reflect deeply, and to harmonize our behavior with our beliefs. This then gives us the charge.
A good declaration has 5 fundamental ingredients: it is personal, positive, conjugated to the present; possesses visual evidence and emotional strength. It must be done with respect to the roles we play in life (for example father, mother, son, grandfather, worker, member of a group, etc.). Even a company can make a corporate mission statement. The important thing is that it is shared by every worker, and that everyone can make their contribution.
One of the characteristics of athletes and peak performers is that they are viewers. They start thinking in the end.
Rule 3: Prioritize priorities
The fundamental question is: what is, among the things you could do (and what you don’t do now) that which, if done regularly, would bring about a huge positive change in your personal life? What is the thing that would allow similar results in your professional activity?
Rule 3 is the concrete application of the first two. With this rule the independent will develops which makes effective self-management possible. It is the ability to make decisions, make choices and act in accordance with them. Being effective managers of ourselves means having the discipline that comes from within, from our will. Time management is often talked about, but this is misleading. The center of it all is managing ourselves. Satisfaction depends on expectation and fulfillment.
To put principle 3 into practice, we create our time matrix, which has 4 quadrants:
- Quadrant 1 : these are important and urgent activities.
- Quadrant 2 : these are important and non-urgent activities.
- Quadrant 3 : these are not important and urgent activities.
- Quadrant 4 : these are non-important and non-urgent activities.
We need to put our daily activities into these quadrants. Those that require discipline and continuous commitment, and that are able to significantly change our life in the long term, are those of the second quadrant. They are important and not urgent.
Planning, relationship building, research and creation of new opportunities, moments of renewal and growth, close. To create space in this quadrant, you need to set aside the activities of quadrants 3 and 4. This means learning to say “no” to other activities. You have to choose the objectives and implement a weekly schedule, not a daily one.
This is a broader planning that allows you to be more effective. It is also important to learn to delegate.
Rule 4: Thinking through the win / win paradigm
The basis for rules 4, 5 and 6 is true independence. Interdependence is a choice that only independent people can make.
There are six paradigms of human interaction:
1. I win / win : this is the best paradigm. It constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions. In this case, all parties are satisfied with the decision and feel committed to the action plan.
2. I win / lose : this is the authoritarian approach: “I get my goal, you don’t get yours”. In this case, position, power, credentials or assets are used to achieve one’s purposes.
3. I lose / win : it is worse than the previous one, because in this case there is no criterion – no request, expectation, vision. One thinks only of pleasing or making peace at any cost.
4. Lose / lose : when two people win / lose are together, the result will be lose / lose. Both will become vindictive and will want to “settle the score”, ignoring that murder is suicide and that revenge is a double edged sword. This is also the philosophy of the dependent subject.
5. I win : in this attitude, what matters is getting what you want. If there is no conflict or competition, I win is probably the most common behavioral pattern in everyday transactions. One thinks of achieving one’s goals, and lets others achieve their own.
6. I win / win or nothing done : this alternative is even better than the win / win. In fact, you may think that if you don’t reach an agreement, you are left with nothing. In this way, no expectations or contracts are created. This avoids any disappointments.
The best philosophy depends on the context and situation. For example: in a football game, if I win, I know my opponent loses. The key is to read reality accurately and not to use the win / lose paradigm or other types of script in any situation.
Most situations are part of an interdependent reality in which the only truly valid alternative is that of the win / win paradigm. The win / win philosophy is the rule of interpersonal leadership. It implies the exercise of the human faculties of self-awareness, imagination, consciousness and autonomous will.
Rule 5: First try to understand … then make yourself understood
“First try to understand” implies a radical paradigm shift. In most cases, people do not listen with the intention of understanding, but with the intention of responding. Very few practice the higher form of listening, that is, empathic listening, with the intention of understanding.
Empathic listening allows you to observe through the other person’s frame of reference, to see the world in the way others observe it, to understand their paradigms and what they feel. Listening empathically does not mean agreeing with the other, but understanding him fully, deeply, both emotionally and intellectually.
Empathic listening is risky, it needs security, because it opens up to being influenced and to become vulnerable. In order to influence we must be influenced. The key is to sincerely seek the good of the individual. The second part of the rule concerns making yourself understood. Trying to understand requires consideration; trying to be understood requires courage.
I win / win needs both. The Greeks speak in the order of ethos, that is, our personal credibility, pathos, that is, the empathic side, and logos, that is, our logic, the reasoning part. So in order we have our character, our character in the context of human relationships, and finally our logic in presenting things.
This new paradigm allows us to present our ideas in a clear, specific, visual and contextualized way. When we really and deeply understand each other we open the doors to creative solutions and third alternatives.
Rule 6: Synergize
Synergy is the essence of leadership centered on principles. Catalyzes, reunites, and releases the greatest inner forces.
Synergy implies that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and that the relationships that the parts make are themselves an entity. When we communicate synergistically, we open the mind, heart and expressive faculties to new possibilities.
There are three levels of communication:
1. Defensive (win / lose or lose / lose): low trust and low cooperation. It is not effective.
2. Respectful (compromise): trust and cooperation present, but lack of empathy. It works in situations of independence and interdependence but does not promote creative solutions and synergy.
3. Synergic (winning / winning): communication based on empathic listening, on the enhancement of mental, emotional, psychological differences between people. We realize that people see the world not as it is, but as they are.
In synergistic communication, positive, reasonable, logical, conscious and economic driving forces are used. Synergy allows you to make the most of rules 4, 5 and 6 to use and develop driving forces.
Rule 7: Sharpen the blade
Rule 7 continually renews the four dimensions of our physical, spiritual, mental and socio-emotional nature. To do this, one must be proactive. Sharpening the blade is an activity of the second quadrant.
- Physical dimension : trains through exercise for endurance, strength, flexibility; also through nutrition and stress control.
- Spiritual dimension : it is our core, our center, our commitment to our value system. It draws on the sources that inspire and uplift us, and which bind us to the eternal truths of all humanity. You can renew your spirit in different ways, depending also on your belief.For example with meditation, prayer, great literature or great music, communication with nature, study. When we take the time to design the center that guides our life, it opens like an umbrella over anything else. It refreshes us, especially if we renew our commitment to it.
- Mental dimension : trains with reading, visualization, planning, writing. For example, you can keep a diary of our thoughts, our experiences, what we learn. The important thing is to communicate on the deep level of thoughts, feelings, ideas, rather than on the superficial level of events.
- Socio-emotional dimension: these two dimensions are linked together because our emotional life develops and manifests itself mainly as a result of our relationships with others. We can experience and implement service, empathy, synergy, inner security. Renewal is the principle and process that pushes us to move in an ascending spiral of growth and change, of continuous improvement.To achieve tangible progress we must rely on our conscience, which allows us to feel our coherence with the right principles, and which raises us towards them when it is in shape. Achieving unity, uniqueness with ourselves, with our loved ones, with our friends and colleagues, is the highest, best and most delicious fruit of the Seven Rules.