Following feedback and discussions with parents, teachers, community and business leaders, Summers and her staff found that the shortlist of ‘wants’ for children from the school was not academic achievement but qualities of responsibility, caring, compassion, respect for diversity and good decision makers. Summers determined that with the implementation of the 7 Habits from an early stage (e.g. primary school) it would be possible to accomplish the requests and requirements of the list while maintaining if not improving academic performance.
(Excerpt from the book)
In summary, the 7 Habits are:
Habit 1: Be Proactive
I am a responsible person. I take initiative. I choose my actions, attitudes and moods. I do not blame others for my wrong actions. I do the right thing without being asked, even when no one is looking.
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
I plan ahead and set goals. I do things that have meaning and make a difference. I am an important part of my classroom and contribute to my school’s mission and vision, and look for ways to be a good citizen.
Habit 3: Put First Things First
I spend my time on things that are most important. This means I say no to things I know I should not do. I set priorities, make a schedule and follow my plan. I am disciplined and organised.
Habit 4: Think Win-Win
I balance courage for getting what I want with consideration for what others want. I make deposits in others’ Emotional Bank Accounts. When conflicts arise, I look for third alternatives.
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
I listen to other people’s ideas and feelings. I try to see things from their viewpoints. I listen to others without interrupting. I am confident in voicing my ideas. I look people in the eyes when talking.
Habit 6: Synergise
I value other people’s strengths and learn from them. I get along well with others, even people who are different than me. I work well in groups. I seek out other people’s ideas to solve problems because I know that by teaming with others we can create better solutions than any one of us alone. I am humble.
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
I take care of my body by eating right, exercising and getting sleep. I spend time with family and friends. I learn in lots of ways and lots of places, not just at school. I take time to find meaningful ways to help others.
How A.B. Combs went about creating the culture of success and leadership is detailed and explained in Chapters 3 (Crafting a Blueprint for Leadership) and 4 (Aligning for Success). In these chapters, descriptions of strategies, tools and responsibilities are described and detailed. At the heart of these practises at A.B. Combs lie the philosophy that, “If you treat all students as if they are gifted, and you always look at them through that lens of being gifted in at least some aspects, they will rise to that level of expectation”.