Month: July 2012



Steven Covey, one of the world’s experts on leadership, passed away yesterday at the age of 79.  His major contribution was centered around a book he wrote called The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.  Multitudes of leadership guru’s mimicked many of his principles but his are at the core of understanding how to lead yourself so you can lead others.

If you’ve never read the book, I suggest you do so.  You can find it easily on  From a Christian Leaders perspective, the principles that Covey outlines are Biblical as you realize that we can do nothing apart from the Spirit of God.

Here are the 7 habits:*

Habit 1: Be Proactive
Take initiative in life by realizing that your decisions (and how they align with life’s principles) are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in your life. Take responsibility for your choices and the consequences that follow.

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envision the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life.

Habit 3: Put First Things First
Prioritize, plan, and execute your week’s tasks based on importance rather than urgency. Evaluate whether your efforts exemplify your desired character values, propel you toward goals, and enrich the roles and relationships that were elaborated in Habit 2.

Habit 4: Think Win-Win
Genuinely strive for mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. Value and respect people by understanding a “win” for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had gotten his way.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
Use empathic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This creates an atmosphere of caring, respect, and positive problem solving.

Habit 6: Synergize
Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals no one person could have done alone. Get the best performance out of a group of people through encouraging meaningful contribution, and modeling inspirational and supportive leadership.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
Balance and renew your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle. It primarily emphasizes on exercise for physical renewal, prayer and good reading for mental renewal. It also mentions service to the society for spiritual renewal.


(*descriptions taken from



I love Chick Fil A.  We don’t have one in Minnesota yet, so when we were returning from our Colorado vacation, we stopped in at the Chick fil a in Loveland – just north of Denver.  Greeted and treated by the friendly, drive through voice, we proceeded to the clean, well kept window.  It was 10:35am, just past their breakfast service and into lunch.  So my wife Kellie kindly asked if they had any remaining breakfast food that we could add to our order.  The attendant thought for a moment, said, “let me check,” and retreated behind the glass.

A few moments later, she returned with our lunch order and said, “I also found a breakfast burrito and a few ‘mini’s’ in the back.  Because you’re our out-of-state guests, it is on us.”  OH YEAH!!!! (That was the response from my high school aged kids, gleaming in the back seat).

One of the reasons Chick fil a is so great is because they focus on the guests’ experience.  (Yup, we’re not customers, we are guests).   They greet every person with a smile and with respect.  Instead of saying “you’re welcome” to my “Thank you,” they say “it’s my pleasure.”  As a result, they add value to every guest – not simply through the quality of their food, but in the treatment of their patrons. We walk away from the Chick fil a experience with a full belly and an even fuller heart.

Wouldn’t it be great if all of our daily experiences were that pleasant?  What if companies, businesses and churches went beyond the expected and created a WOW experience people.  What if government offices and school administration added value to you as a person and not a number.  That’s why I love Chick fil a.  Good food – great service – a value adding experience.

Question:  What experiences have you had at Chick fil a or any other great restaurants?  Write a comment below …