The 8th Habit - Stephen R. Covey

The 8th Habit - Stephen R. Covey

Learn more about the “Knowledge Age” and find out how the eighth habit can be used as a powerful tool to transform your life and workplace.

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Since the industrial age, people have been managed as “things”. The scenario has changed, but the way of managing individuals remains the same, being seen as objects. To help leaders change this scenario, Stephen Covey wrote the book “The 8th Habit”.

This old management makes employees underperform and feel unmotivated, even in large organizations. So that you can reverse the game, you can’t stand there waiting for the company or bosses to change, it’s up to you to make your choice for greatness.

If you want to change those habits and pursue greatness, you must practice the 8th habit! Got interested to learn more about it? Stay with us in this summary!

The book “The 8th Habit”

“The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness” was published in 2004 by Stephen Covey.

It was created with the intention of thriving, innovating, and leading you to achieve greatness, making everything run passionately and with great contributions to the achievement of the “Knowledge Worker Era”.

The book is divided into two major parts: first, it teaches how people can meet their inner voice and then how they can help others on this journey.

By the way, if you want to have a look at all the book's details, the full edition has 413 pages.

Who was Stephen R. Covey?

Stephen R. Covey was one of the most influential Americans of his time, recognized as a great authority in spreading the principles of leadership and life to organizations and people.

In addition, he was co-founder and vice president of Franklin Covey Co., a leading consulting firm. Covey is also the bestselling author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Smart Trust, among others.

Why should I read “The 8th Habit”?

If you are a person who has a desire to work joyfully, doing what you like, and efficiently, “The 8th Habit” is a great book for you.

In addition, if you are feeling lost or dissatisfied with the development of your personal and professional projects, be sure to read it. The book will be extremely helpful to you and everyone who holds the leadership position.

What can I learn from “The 8th Habit”?

  • Find your own voice, that is, to reach your innate potential;
  • In addition to finding your own voice, you need to help others find their voices;
  • Before developing the 8th habit, it is recommended that you have already expanded the 7 habits;
  • We should focus on mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual intelligence;
  • Inspiring others requires leadership skills;
  • Focus and execution are two major pillars of inspiration;
  • Build trust in people and organizations;
  • You must listen with empathy and an open mind;
  • Employees need to be aligned with company values and receive constant feedback;
  • During the execution process, there will be gaps.

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[Book Summary] The 8th Habit - Stephen R. Covey

Find Your Inner Voice

At first, it may have been a bit confusing what the inner voice really is. Well, when Covey refers to the inner voice, he talks about what you need to do to reach your innate potential.

And it’s only up to you to decide what action you will take to reach your potential, after all, we all receive the three great gifts, which are:

  • Freedom and choice: this gift we receive when we are born, he says that we can make our choices according to our values, which are capable of changing our future directions;
  • Natural laws or principles: they are universal, timeless, and self-evident;
  • The four bits of intelligence/capabilities:
  1. IQ (Intelligence Quotient): our ability to analyze, understand, and reason;
  2. QF (Physical Intelligence): is focused on the body, most of the time it goes unnoticed;
  3. EQ (Emotional Intelligence): self-knowledge, empathy, and communication power to do things and express themselves on time;
  4. QS (Spiritual Intelligence): guides all 3 other bits of intelligence, becoming a guide to the best path.

According to the author, the more we practice and broaden our talents, the greater our ability becomes. When we analyze successful people in detail, we come up with some repeated patterns about their four bits of intelligence, which are:

  • Vision for IQ: occurs when we combine needs with opportunities, seeing possibilities in people and enterprises;
  • Discipline for QF: learning to deal with all the difficulties of transforming a vision into reality;
  • Passion for EQ: can be understood as a desire and all that drives it, so that discipline is preserved and vision is achieved;
  • Consciousness for QS: it is what seeks the sense of right or wrong to collaborate in your vision.

Inspire others to find their voices

In “The 8th Habit”, Stephen Covey says that when he was younger he had a leader who believed in his ability far more than himself. This led him to find out what work he would like to do for the rest of his life and thus find his own vocation.

Now it’s your turn! You have to be responsible for inspiring others. With this, the author explains the great importance of arousing the inspiration of others to find their own voices and vocations.

The first concept presented is about leadership, because a good leader is that trustworthy, honest person who has great values ​​and, above all, can help people understand their true purpose.

So give them oriented autonomy, that is, help them find their true goal and then give them autonomy and potential to reach their goal.

According to Covey, the process of inspiring others to find their own voices can be summarized by four leadership qualities:

  1. Modeling (consciousness): give good examples;
  2. Discovering paths (vision): joint determination for the course;
  3. Align (discipline): manage and determine systems to stay on course;
  4. Strengthen (Passion): focus talent on results.

Therefore, inspiration can be summarized in two keywords: Focus (model and discover paths) and Execution (alignment and strengthening).


The voice of influence

In addition to finding our own voice, we also need initiatives. The author calls this compensatory, that is, one who takes initiatives in order to expand their influences in front of all opportunities, changing the course of the team.

“Victimization throws away our future.”

The voice of reliability

Trust is one of the most important pillars of any relationship, so you need to be careful because it is what unites the organization.

“Of all leadership failures, 90 percent are character failures.”

So, shape your character and skills, earning the trust of people and organizations. To succeed in this step, see the tips that the author presents:

  • Always keep your promises. If you have a 1% doubt that you may not comply, don’t do so;
  • Be kind and friendly to everyone, using words of affection;
  • Apologize;
  • Show confidence, potential, and value in the people you truly believe.

Matching Voices

According to Warren Bennis:

“Leaders do not avoid, repress or deny conflict, but see it as an opportunity.”

Do you agree that it is easier to say than actually do something? But even easier than speaking is listening, and this is the attitude that we must have to suppress any conflict.

However, it turns out to be much more than just listening to someone else. You have to listen empathetically, that is, you have to put yourself in the person’s situation and try to understand their point of view and why, with an open mind.

Right after that, now is the time for you to explain your point of view and consolidate a third alternative that everyone agrees with.

Strategy Sharing

Since the 8th habit is a process that first occurs from the inside out, we must have good ways to share ideas.

That way, make sure that employees are aligned with your business values. You can do this through team meetings and feedback that helps them focus on the goal.


According to the author, the leader, in most cases, ends up taking care of all the planning and the workers only do what is passed on. This discourages employees, after all, they do not have the freedom and responsibilities they wanted.

Therefore, you need to reverse the game and give up some of your responsibilities as workers need to feel more confident and empowered to get the best results.

Finally, show how to be confident in your actions and align with employees from which direction the company should go. Remember that alignment requires constant vigilance, and this can be done through feedback.

The Age of Wisdom

During execution, there are many things we can face, and the main one is failures. Therefore, the author listed the 6 most frequently, they are characterized as “Execution Gaps”.

In addition, in this part, the author introduces “The 4 disciplines of execution”, which can strongly help you overcome the challenges of the gaps. The disciplines are:

  1. Focus on the most important;
  2. Create a compelling scoreboard;
  3. Translate vague goals into specific actions;
  4. Mutual collection of responsibilities (continuous).

Finally, Stephen Covey says that the big secret of the 8th habit is to serve others, and better, through win-win relationships.

Books about development of habits

In Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman clarifies that IQ contributes only 20% to success in life. The rest is the result of emotional intelligence, which includes factors such as the ability to motivate yourself, persistence, impulse control, mood regulation, empathy, and hope.

In the book O Cérebro com Foco e Disciplina, the author Renato Alves says that to be disciplined, you must follow the route drawn despite difficulties and temptations. He explains that discipline gives the ability to not give up and therefore to go further, and the first step to getting it is to value it.

Finally, Mel Robbins, in her book The 5 Second Rule, points out that we should not wait for the perfect moment. Most likely it does not exist and will cost a unique opportunity. In addition, it presents a method capable of increasing the productivity, collaboration, and involvement of its professionals.

How can I apply the ideas from “The 8th Habit”?

As we have seen, the human being can do much more than the mere mediocrity for which it has already been programmed. As presented by the author, we are all whole – body, mind, spirit, and heart.

  • For the body - imagine that you had a heart attack, now live by it;
  • For the mind - imagine that the goal of your working life is two years, now prepare as a result of it;
  • For the heart - imagine that someone else can hear everything you say about them, now speak accordingly;
  • For the spirit - imagine that you have a personal meeting with your Creator every quarter, now live by it.

Lastly, remember that this 8th habit can be implemented in all areas of your life, both personal and professional.

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The 8th Habit - Stephen R. Covey