Thursday, July 02, 2009

Mid-Year Inventory

The other day I was in a department store and I recognized those familiar cards they attach to merchandise during inventory time. Familiar to me because two careers ago I worked in retail. Twice a year – January and July we would go through the boring and painful process of conducting an inventory of the store’s merchandise. When I saw the cards I realized it was mid-year, July would be here in just a few days. I began to think about the goals I set for this year. Like the store, it was time for me to take a mid-year inventory.

I’m a fan of Stephen Covey’s earlier work. You may remember, the multi, multi-million copy bestseller “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” I’ve been a fan of the 7 Habits Philosophy since I attended Covey training about seven years ago. Covey’s habits are tied to principles that if applied impact one’s personal leadership style in a way that inserts values and character.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Covey’s philosophy, I’ll quickly share the 7 habits:
Habit 1: Be Proactive – this deals with the principle of personal choice
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind - the principle of personal vision
Habit 3: Put First Things First – a tough one, the principle of integrity and execution
Habit 4: Think Win/Win – the principles of mutual benefit
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood – the principles of mutual understanding
Habit 6: Synergize: the principles of creative cooperation (one of my favorites)
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw: the principles of balanced self-renewal

Back to my personal inventory. I’ve done extremely well at accomplishing my goals. With most of them I’m right on target or even a little ahead. Except the weight one – I’ve lost 19lbs instead of 30, but I’m not beating myself up on that one, because usually I’m in gaining mode rather than losing.

Where are you? Are you on target? If so, bravo. Are you lagging? Still at the starting gate?

Covey asks and answers the following: “If you were to fault yourself in one of three areas, which would it be: (1) the inability to prioritize; (2) the inability or desire to organize around those priorities; or (3) the lack of discipline to execute around them? … Most people say their main fault is a lack of discipline. On deeper thought, I believe that is not the case. The basic problem is that their priorities have not become deeply planted in their hearts and minds. They haven’t really internalized Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind."

I agree. For years I prayed about my lack of discipline and asked the Lord to help me balance and prioritize. Once I "began with the end in mind", I mean really began the year with a goal that had to be attained, I accomplished it. I shared this in the first installment of my journey to publication series.

I don’t think you have to be a Covey follower to meet your goals. Stephen Covey is one of thousands of leadership gurus and life coaches out there. Pick any one and you’ll receive similar messages and they’ll all include a bit of strategic thinking and action planning. You can also find this in the Bible. It’s not new and it’s not rocket science, but it is something many of us struggle with. I’d love to hear praise reports in December from some of you, but we may need to do a mid-year check to make sure we’re on task.

How are you doing at the half-way point? What things have you done to reach your goals? If you’re falling behind, what things can you do for the next six months to put habits 1 – 3 into action? I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for stopping by!


Rhonda McKnight

P.S. Felesia: You shared the 7 Habits tapes and purchased the Covey day planner for me more than 9 years ago. When I received them, I didn’t understand why you sent them to me. But as fate would have it I took the training a year later and completely understood the gift you were sharing. Thanks for being such a dear friend.

1 comment:

Tangie said...

Rhonda, wow! This was so timely for me because I have been asking God to help me prioritize & gain some balance. I feel like I'm living reactively instead of proactively. And while I'm inching toward my goals, I certainly could be much further if I could only get it together! LOL! I see now that I need to focus with the end in mind. Thanks for sharing!