The second Habit we must consider to become truly effective people is ‘Begin with the end in mind.’


If you have a vision in your mind of the destination you want to end up at and the things that you want to achieve, you can make certain that whatever you do each day does not violate or disagree with this.


You must start with a very clear understanding of what you want to accomplish to ensure you are heading in the right direction. There is no point being busy and efficient if you are not focusing your time and energy on the right things as you’ll be ineffective.


Covey states a principle that all things are created twice – an idea or first creation followed by a physical or second creation. By taking control of our own first creation, we can write or re-write our own scripts using our imagination and conscience – taking some control and responsibility for the outcome. For example, if you want to have a successful business, you firstly define what you are trying to achieve then using your proactive powers create the product/service, target market, research and development, finance, HR etc to meet your original objectives.


Personal leadership is the first creation of Habit 2 and Management is the second creation. Convey says ‘Effective management without effective leadership is like straightening the deck chairs on the titanic.’ Often people manage with efficiency, setting and achieving goals before they have even clarified a value which is a recipe for disaster. The extent to which you begin with the end in mind will determine how successful you are. If you begin each day with your values in mind, you can face any challenges and make decisions based on these values. The most effective way to follow your values is to write a personal mission statement.


Once you have a sense of mission in your life, you have the essence of your own proactivity. You have your vision and values which direct your life and you have the direction required to set your short and long term goals. Your circle of influence, levels of proactivity, roles and responsibilities will help you to decide where you wish to focus your attention and set these goals – it is important to find the right balance of how you split your time.


Organisations should also create mission statements to help contribute to their success. Everyone within a company should have an involvement and get to voice their opinions – ‘no involvement = no commitment.’ An organisational mission statement that really reflects the shared vision and values of everyone with an organisation creates a great unity and commitment and will drive the success of all involved.


Habit 2 highlights the importance of beginning with the end in mind, not only for individuals but for organisations. If you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve that coincide with your long and short term goals you have much more chance of remaining proactive and effective in life.

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