Posted by: kerrywills | November 28, 2014


I am a fan of Covey’s classic book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” I read it when I graduated college 20 years ago and the principles are still very relevant today. I am especially fond of the fifth habit which states “seek first to understand, then to be understood.” I find it interesting when people join projects, teams or organizations and immediately start jumping in with opinions and criticism. I understand that they are probably trying to make a name for themselves, but this is a risk proposition since there are most likely reasons that things are the way that they are. The most effective people are those that come in and just observe – that is they seek to understand the culture, norms, politics and people that they are working with before passing judgment.



People who immediately jump in with opinions run the risk of alienating themselves, ruining relationships and not being seen as a team player. I especially enjoy the “this is how we did it at XYZ company” comments which always leads me to say in my head “then why didn’t you stay at XYZ company?” The golden rule with joining a new team should be to Seek First to Understand (SFTU) or to Shut the “F” Up (STFU).  This isn’t as eloquent as Covey but probably just as easy to remember.



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