Yes, you read that correctly. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People People.
With a nod to Stephen Covey who passed away earlier this week, I decided to come up with my own list.
Why People People? As I thought through different circles of professionals I’m privileged to come into contact with, a common denominator is this notion of people people. According to Dictionary.com, a people person is “an outgoing, gregarious person with good communication skills.” Every profession has them, but I would contend that people people are found more among those who work with membership and customer service, events and meetings, travel and tourism, and education.
So what makes for highly effective people people?
Habit 1: Listening To solve a problem or provide assistance, a highly effective people person will listen. They ask insightful questions and gather information so they understand your request or need fully. They are resourceful and know how to connect you to people, ideas, and/or guidance. They don’t have to have all the answers and will tap into knowledge that they do not possess. Listening is a critical component to effective communications skills and an essential building block to both writing and speaking.
Habit 2: Engagement Just as listening uncovers real needs and hopes, engagement is what enables a people person to pull disparate ideas and people together. An effective people person is engaged with you in a conversation as if you’re the only one in the world (we all know a few). They are fully engaged. When they leave the conversation with you, they are fully engaged elsewhere. These moments of complete engagement provide illumination for the other moments, and in time, concepts and people are pulled together. The people person is quick to make introductions at a party or a conference, not just to be polite, but because they see the potential impact of dynamic, new connections.
Habit 3: Service Highly effective people people are more likely to volunteer or serve in some capacity. Maybe it’s the additional opportunities to connect with their peers or perhaps it’s the sense of continual learning. It could be a sense of gratitude or indebtedness. The common thread though is that of connecting people and ideas and resources.
Habit 4: Ownership Highly effective people people see problems and seek resolution. While perfectly fine to delegate or seek assistance, the people person will follow up to ensure that the request or need was satisfied, either internally or with the customer, client, or member. They see their responsibility beyond the scope of their daily tasks or job description and will want to know that its conclusion was beneficial to the individual and to the organization.
Habit 5: Responsiveness The first step in ownership is responsiveness. People people are not satisfied with just meeting the minimum requirements. Let’s say the company policy is to respond to an inquiry within four hours. Where possible they are responding within 20 minutes because they know how vital this is to a customer service relationship. They are motivated by their own frustrations at a lack of service or a bad experience elsewhere. Because people people are highly social and communicative, they know that people talk. The people person wants to make sure that what is being said about them, their department, and their organization is positive.
Habit 6: Timeliness While very similar in some regards to responsiveness, timeliness is different. Responsiveness says, “I see your need. I acknowledge your pain.” Timeliness seeks the full resolution of the need or the request. Responsiveness is what happens in the first moments. Timeliness is ongoing with various checkpoints. Think about it from the perspective of a medical emergency. Responsiveness is being first on the scene. Timeliness is getting the proper care in the hours and days afterward. The highly effective people person (as mentioned in Ownership) wants to see the resolution to its conclusion. It’s not enough to place the immediate call in response, customer loyalty is won or lost on the timeliness of the entire process.
Habit 7: Transparency Highly effective people people live in a world where they believe most eyes are on them. While it has the downside of being a bit egotistical, its positive spin is that (as mentioned in Responsiveness), it brings an inherent accountability. The people person knows that people talk. These people may not talk to the people person’s boss, but they’re talking- in coffee shops, on golf courses, while shopping. They’re talking on email and Skype and Facebook and Twitter. The people person understands the connectedness of the world today and the rapidity with which ideas are shared. They know that things come to light with smartphones, cameras, and recording devices. Highly effective people people operate within this and want what is being said to be positive (Again, see Responsiveness).
What 8th habit or other habits do you see in highly effective people people? What other professions or industries benefit from having highly effective people people? Who are the most highly effective people people you know?