Covey’s 5th Habit – Seek First to Understand Then to be Understood

Using Habit 5 and posting to my BLOG  are almost incompatible and has made it the most difficult to write about, so far.

With the responses available on Social Media outlets “like, favorite, & stars” and the only feedback received is “number of views” or “tagging” SM communication makes it difficult to evaluate the relevance of your writing.

Engaging in Twitter chats on particular topics requires rapid fire digestion of hash-tagged comments” full of condensed thought and abbreviations. The forum allows for groups to assemble but generates a deluge of conversation offering little or no “private think time” on questions and an ever escalating rapidity of response to be heard above the din.

Grant postings offer the writer free range to their imagination, give voice to tangential ideas that can be accepted or rejected with no feedback on why the idea was “rejected” and little follow on dissemination of information of the grant’s work product.

It has become acceptable to request submission of in-depth personal information for public job postings with no guarantee of feedback for the effort expended preparing the submission.

If active recruitment includes clearer candidate identification and submission qualifications, a more focused pool of candidates would appear for screening.

This type of activity could occur during the education pipeline with:

  • Assessment of career interest
  • Development of career interest-matching
  • Internship programs for high school students matching interests with skill trajectories
  • Technical certification recruitment for TNPromise candidates
  • Career trajectory counseling for university bound students

All of these require listening from both parties and realistic assessment of current potentials with career development track counseling, support-through-study sponsorship, intern development and post-graduation placement

Written by an associate of Covey’s, Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play is directed toward sales teams with the intent of improving performance.

It features five characteristics (O-R-D-E-R) to move from the beginning of an opportunity to closing in the business world.

  • Opportunity – listen to whether a true opportunity exists
  • Resources – resources in place to move the opportunity ahead
  • Decision Process – clear decision process necessary to proceed
  • Exact Solution – requisites and measurements clearly identified
  • Relationship – strong communication channels to exchange constructive criticism (trust).

I use this set of criteria in the classroom to open classroom conversations around learning.
O – Is there a true opportunity with this person or group to learn?
R – What resources are in place for them to:

  • Grasp the concept?
  • Apply it to practical situation?
  • Gain fluency in the use of the knowledge and its application?

D – How will the person/group decide to engage in the learning?
E – Will they push toward an verifiable (exact) solution?
R – Is the relationship (trust) in place to offer evidence of their learning?

Covey says:

Communication is the most important skill in life. You spend years learning how to read and write, and years learning how to speak.

But what about listening?

What training have you had that enables you to listen so you really, deeply understand another human being?

Probably none, right?

Because you so often listen autobiographically, you tend to respond in one of four ways:

Evaluating: You judge and then either agree or disagree.

Probing: You ask questions from your own frame of reference.

Advising: You give counsel, advice, and solutions to problems.

Interpreting: You analyze others’ motives and behaviors based on your own experiences. Covey’s Habit 5

My work as Core Coach utilizes techniques encompassed in the Modeling Process and Accountable Talk. Accountable Talk Sourcebook

It  places the teacher in the role of the facilitator, helping participants through a discovery process of clearly understanding essential understandings and learning.

It moves away from pure didactic instruction and uses keen listening to direct discussion toward discovery.

When a person engages in this process there should be a open expression of learning.

Proactive “response-ability” results from listening to the requirements of others and focusing attention on the learning.

Listening (before speaking) is now more relevant than ever to keep the focus of conversations clear, resulting in the formulation of responses that satisfy the stakeholders’ criteria.

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