Living out the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, The Propelrr Way
- 10 Oct 2017
We are what we repeatedly do, wouldn’t you agree? That said, how long does it take to actually form just one good habit? If your answer is “too long,” then imagine what it would be like to develop a whole bunch of good habits. Because that’s what it’s going to take to become the best version of yourself.
Big words! As I’m among the latest wave of Aviators, I need all the help I can get to alter my bad habits, strengthen my capabilities, and lessen my weaknesses. Aviators are what we fondly call members of the Propelrr team, as we all pitch in to help the whole team fly higher. Of course, who wouldn’t want to give great contributions to an organization you plan to grow with? That said, I really don’t have the perfect set of habits; that’s not something I’m particularly proud of. But I know that the habits I need can’t be injected into my veins, either.
Being the curious person that I am, I googled how long it would take for a person to form a new habit. I stumbled upon a research by Dr. Maxwell Waltz, a well-known surgeon in the 1950’s. His research states that it takes about 21 days to develop a new habit. Sounds doable!
In a competitive industry that Propelrr plays in, we get a lot of help from the management in developing values and habits to boost the productivity of each and every Aviator—we’re going to need them! The members are steeped in an environment of excellence, passion, and grit. In order to take flight, Aviators must be creative and innovative, possess iron-clad integrity, be globally-competitive, display grit, exemplify leadership, be collaborative, be value-builders, and be process-oriented. It’s quite a shopping list!
This is exactly why the management exerts efforts to sustain such a charged and exciting environment. The Community Development Team makes it a point to promote the 7 Habits to help each Aviator tap into their full potential. I know it’s easier said than done. Four months in the industry and I still have so much to learn, so when I heard about the plans to have a workshop and seminar on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I got delighted. Count me in, please!
I’m getting ahead of myself. A bit of a background for starters: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was written by international best-selling author Stephen Covey. Stephen studied the concept of success for a long time, and he identified 7 habits that can help his readers become more effective at whatever they set their minds to. Covey’s 7 habits are: Be Proactive, Begin with the End in Mind, Put First Things First, Think Win-Win, Seek First to Understand, Synergize, and Sharpen the Saw. Stephen Covey was able to inspire millions of readers with a very powerful message: “For true success and meaning in life, we must be principle-centered in all areas of life.”
To educate and reeducate us about Covey’s 7 habits, Propelrr had its third seminar. Did I mention it was in beautiful Baguio City? Yes! Of course, we didn’t just go there to enjoy the scenic view and tourist spots (although of course we did). Primarily, we were there to conduct a self-check: where we are now, how far have we have come, and how far we have to go in terms of the 7 Habits.
To put it in the Propelrr context, I made sure I jotted down a few insights from my colleagues.
Success Habit 1: Be Proactive
Freddie Santos – SEO Specialist
Freddie (Ferdz to his pals) practices the first habit by converting reactive tasks into proactive ones. When he started a career in the digital marketing industry two years ago, he spent a lot of time researching and finding good avenues to learn, like taking online courses to put his skills into practice.
“I grew up knowing that I am the pilot of my own life. I am responsible for what will happen to me, as well as the outcomes of all my choices. And when it comes to choosing, I always choose happiness and success. I know life is full of trials, traps, distractions, and stopovers—but it doesn’t stop me from waking up in the morning, enjoying life, and taking time to develop into the best version of myself that I can be.”
Success Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Dexter Loor – Web Software Engineer
Most of us find ourselves rather busy without fully realizing the meaning behind the things we do. As a team leader, Dexter challenges his team to begin with the end in mind.
“I make sure that my team knows what our objective is as a whole. But it doesn’t stop there. I also make sure that my team knows what our immediate objectives are. Couple that with a clear path towards those objectives, then it puts everyone in work-mode—with each member assembling their own parts towards the completion of the whole. This is only possible if, as a team, we’re all aligned to what that final whole is from the start.”
Success Habit 3: Put First Things First
Mitch Viray – Vice President
I have a lot of things to learn from our very own vice president, Mitchelle Viray, in terms of time management. She says that before anything else, one must be clear with their priorities. She makes sure to identify tasks and categorize them in terms of urgency and importance.
“In life, we often encounter pursuits that are definitely important, but aren’t urgent. We usually take these for granted. Relationship-building, self-improvement, and goal setting—these are necessary for our long-term happiness and well-being. We tend to push these to the side because we want to finish what’s urgent to get them out of the way immediately. The problem is, urgent tasks never run out. If you concentrate only on the urgent, you’ll find yourself doing the same things without improving yourself.”
“An example that applies to our work involves an ongoing project to documenting and managing official processes for everything we do. This is definitely not urgent, but once we finish, we’ll be able to streamline training new hires, always have checkpoints to go back to at any point during a project, and establish a platform for improvement.”
“So to ensure that Propelrr does not take this activity for granted, I plan for it in terms of schedule, manpower, and effort. Considering that the teams are busy with operations, I seek additional man-hours through getting interns. I also make sure that meetings and discussions are scheduled accordingly so that the team can still manage their respective schedules and these would not interfere with their daily tasks. In times when we need to cancel a discussion due to urgent tasks, I make sure that the team will commit a day to reschedule the activity. In short, prioritization, proper planning, discipline and commitment can address habit number 3.”
Habit 4: Think Win-Win
John Levi Cuyoca – SEO Specialist
For John, in order to establish effective interdependent relationships, one must commit to creating win-win situations—mutually beneficial and satisfying to each party.
“I make it a point that my decisions will always be for the betterment of both parties involved. I make sure that they expressed their point and we’ve understood each other. One party should never be compromised. I also make sure that I get my point across and explain my side to whomever I am dealing with. If ever I did something wrong, I make sure to learn from my mistakes and accept my shortcomings so I can avoid them in the future.”
Mike Tille – Web Software Engineer
Mike Tille’s take on “think win-win” is putting others first without sacrificing your benefits when everything’s said and done. He says thinking win-win is is an agreement or a solution that is mutually beneficial for both parties.”
“As the book said, “think win-win” is not actually about being nice, teamwork is not about being nice as well. Win-win is an agreement or a solution that is mutually beneficial for both parties.”
“We can apply the concept of win-win to an IT development team. Most team leads develop this mindset: they will assess the difficulty of the task and assign it to an individual who has the qualities needed to accomplish it. The team lead usually analyzes the capabilities of their subordinates. Strength and weakness always affect the outcome of the task, and by knowing those attributes, assigning the perfect candidate to work on those tasks will be easy.”
“Developing a keen eye for your team members’ strengths allows you to finish projects more efficiently, and the end result turns out for the better.”
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
Brian Bilog – Web Software Engineer
Brian has learned to work on his bad communication habits in Propelrr. He learned that if you make assumptions especially when dealing with people, it will only lead to miscommunication. You need to listen earnestly and truly look into an email before creating a reply.
“Let the speaker finish first before contemplating a reply in your head. I also learned in Propelrr that you don’t just listen with your ears, but with your full attention. The goal is not just to simply harvest the info that the speaker provides, but you should also make them feel that you listen. Look them in the eye, nod if you agree with the speaker. Show or express that you listen.”
“It’s also just as important to make certain you’re understood if you’re on the other side of the conversation. It really doesn’t help anyone if you spout off directions only to have them go unfollowed. So, how can you be sure? In my time in Propelrr, I’ve learned a nice trick: you just ask for a recap. Politely ask the person you’re talking to if they can repeat what you said. Some might find this tedious at first, but when recall is guaranteed and work is done right, everyone comes out winner.”
Jahren Bautista- Graphic Artist
Understanding is one of the most important things in the workplace for Jahren. For him, it makes the work easier and it lessens the possibility of errors.
“Personally, whenever I am given any task, I make sure that I understand everything so that I can work efficiently. Whenever something’s not clear to me, I am never afraid to ask because I believe that it is better to ask questions from the get-go rather than not clarifying things which will lead to mistakes along the way.”
“Habit number 5 is not just about understanding the details of job orders. It is also about being empathic and understanding how people act the way they do. In a competitive environment like Propelrr, it is not uncommon to misunderstand people’s actions. For me, it is very important to put yourself in the other person’s shoes before you react. I practice being emphatic by taking the time to analyze how a person is feeling given the circumstances they are in and understand what it feels like to be in that situation. Empathy is crucial in the workplace because with people understanding and taking into consideration other people’s emotions, teamwork and collaboration would improve.”
Habit 6: Synergize
Chee Saplala – Creative Director
According to our Creative Director Chee Saplala, synergy allows us to discover new things that we are rather incapable of doing alone. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,” he advises.
“Harnessing individual skills and differences leads to the discovery of new approaches and ideas integral to any organization. It helps us to ask and answer the many “whys” our challenges come with. Moreover, having the openness and genuine interaction, the confidence to voice out your ideas, and be welcomed as a contributor of any work gives the individual a sense of ownership and fulfilment linked to its outcome.”
“To drive digital differently, we preserve and cultivate differences and empower thinking that challenges the norm.”
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
Gary Viray – President/CEO
For our President Gary Viray, what sharpening the saw means for Propelrr is making sure every team member is taken care-of in terms of their physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
“Whenever we have a chance, we always share the Parable of the Chair and the Room to every member of the Propelrr team. The lesson embedded in that story generally tells the mindset of what every Propelrr should have —competitive, excellent, full of grit, and having the passion to unravel what is beyond the horizon.”
“We are relentless in making things happen as we listen intently to the team’s aspirations and needs. Co-creation has always been part of the DNA of Propelrr. The very fact that the brand, Propelrr, is a product of the team itself can already attest to the kind of environment we have. We challenge the norm, we defy status quo. While others do a lot of PR for the sake of looking good outside, we focus our efforts internally because we believe that if we do things wonderfully inside, it will simply radiate outside.
“Lights Out” every Monday and Wednesday is one of the moves we implemented to put balance between work and personal life.
“PropelrrFlix Friday” is a way to keep abreast with the current trends in our industry. Our in-house social gatherings every Friday is a way to strengthen our emotional and social bonds with each other.
Lastly, our glide sessions and personal meetings are means to understand each and everyone in the team, not only their work but also about their personal aspirations, defeats, struggles, and wins. In every step of the way, whatever we learn from the team, we make sure we do something about them to become reality. We are doers and not just sound bites.”
Let’s admit it, we all want to succeed. So go on and challenge yourself to be better, not only yourself but also for the organization you work with. Highly successful people have learned to develop good habits. Make it a commitment to achieve and surpass new levels of success. Better start now for these to take root, right?