Centric Must Reads: 13 Centric-Certified Books to Inspire Your Personal and Professional Life (Book #12)

Reading is an important part of Centric’s culture – we’ve found that learning from the experiences of others is one of the best ways to be inspired. Good books and insightful lessons are shared frequently within the Centric walls – whether that be through team emails, via Twitter or in personal conversations. So, we thought we’d take a moment and bottle up some of the great reads that have impacted our own lives and thought processes. Below are 13 books recommended from Centric’s leaders. Take a look and enjoy! And let us know if you have comments on these books or others to recommend. We’d love to hear from you.

Book #12: Read “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and learn how to elevate yourself from time management to managing your life towards success

By: Joe Smucny, Centric Cleveland Practice Lead


Image - 7 Habits_Joe SmucnySometime in the mid-1990s, I went to a training class that accompanied a book called “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change” by Stephen Covey. I learned about better ways in which I can set lifelong goals for myself, and gained a better understanding of the WHYs in my life. Millions of people have read this book and followed the process for planning yearly, monthly, and weekly goals based on lifelong principles, a focus on relationships, and through a lens of life management rather than mere time management.

As the years have passed, I have translated the paper-based goals planning process into an electronic version that is customized to fit my life management style. Every day, every week, every month, and every year I spend time with my planner to ensure that I am living life to the best of my abilities and according to my core values and principles.

Ever since I was a kid, I was the planner of the family. I drafted spreadsheets on grid paper before Excel existed and I kept a handwritten calendar with all my play dates – sort of an exaggeration, but not really. I’ve also felt that having purpose in life and being highly motivated by this purpose is a critical component of my happiness and satisfaction. What I never knew how to do was tie together this purpose with planning and execution. “7 Habits” helped me do this.

I have to admit that I don’t know if I would have fully adopted the methodology wholeheartedly if I had not attended the accompanying workshop. It would have taken even more patience and discipline. Even so, I would say that it still took about a year before I really started to understand how the process of planning my weeks according to a bigger picture plan was superbly impacting my daily life. It’s been almost 20 years now and I’m still following that basic framework – it’s a timeless tool. For me, “7 Habits” grew into Principle-Centered Leadership (Covey), and since then I’ve expanded the scope to include all people, organizations, and other facets of my life.

Covey’s “7 Habits” is filled with strategically-placed, inspiring quotes, timely stories, and management principles that have become part of our business vernacular (albeit sometimes overused) – “paradigm shift,” “four quadrants,” “circle of concern and influence,” “principle-centered leadership,” “Win/Win,” etc. There are also engaging exercises that will take you to places your brain does not often go. This book is not a book to be read, but rather a book to be used. Mine is faded and tattered and I still pull it out once in a while to grab a quote or remind myself how to elevate myself from mere time management to managing my life so that I build relationships and accomplish results…and most of all, so I remember how to “Sharpen the Saw.”

The “7 Habits” don’t sound much like rocket science; however, in the daily grind of life one needs to remind oneself that simplicity is often the most beautiful of things.  If you haven’t read the book, I encourage you to learn more about what each of these Habits really means by reading it on your own. And if you have read the book, I encourage you to revisit the Habits periodically and walk yourself through the exercises so you may refresh your outlook on life and reinvigorate your belief in your lifelong plan according to your core values and principles.

The following are the 7 Habits:

  1. Be Proactive
  2. Begin with the End in Mind
  3. Put First Things First
  4. Think Win/Win
  5. Seek First to Understand…Then to be Understood
  6. Synergize
  7. Sharpen the Saw

The next time you question your priorities, think about whether you are starting with the Big Rocks, or filling your life with Grains of Sand. Enjoy. Be well. Make the world a better place.

This book is not a book to be read, but rather a book to be used.

Find the complete list of the 13 Centric must reads here.