Stephen Covey’s second habit is Begin with the End in Mind. It is easy for managers to blend leadership and management into one when creating blueprints of their expectations. The only problem is management and leadership are two different things that need to be separated and viewed as two principles that are independent of each another.
In the words of both Peter Drucker and Warren Bennis, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall (101).
This principle of beginning with the end in mind will limit careless mistakes you may make while saving your company time and money. We all understand time is money, so why make reactive management decisions without considering the consequences beforehand. Covey compares the second habit to building a house, which parallels project management. Contractors have a set series of steps that they follow to ensure each step is in pursuit of building the perfect house, not for the pleasure of being busy. Have you ever gotten home from work and thought of how busy you were all day and realized you actually did not accomplish much at all, if anything. Managers need to be reminded that being busy doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being effective. In most circumstances, it alters your ability to begin with the end in mind because the feelings of being busy can be rather overwhelming.
Managers who are capable of visualizing the end creation will be more satisfied when the task physically ends. They will also be able to manage more efficiently since each step is in line with the predetermined goal. Managers who work on applying this skill of beginning with the end in mind will benefit lavishly. A major component of this habit is it provides significant structure to the way you manage others. Tasks need to be organized in such a way that certain tasks will have one or more predecessors to provide smooth operations and prevent unplanned events. As managers, we should all be able to cognitively think like chess masters.
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