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G&F Book Club: Chapter 1

The inaugural book club meeting, led by Adam, discussed Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Gray & Fick's Book Club

The book club was the brain child of Adam, who started and led the first meeting. Adam has a strong personal focus on self improvement and regularly reads books and other media about self-improvement in both personal and professional life. He wanted to expand that to the rest of the company to help us grow and maintain a growth mindset in our personal and professional lives as well. One of his personal favourites was 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which he suggested for the first book. On top of the self-improvement, we also had a great pizza lunch in a park (to allow for social distancing while discussing).

Why 7 Habits?

Stephen Covey's 7 Habits is all about ensuring you are working to both produce and to improve your production capacity. Mr. Covey has numerous anecdotes and stories about how he personally used the habits espoused in the book (some more relevant than others). He takes these truths to be inherent to people rather than to be anything specifically discovered by himself, but he is instead there to lay them out in a clear fashion. He starts by focusing on yourself, identifying your principles and working within your circle of influence, before moving on to working with others and how to create more effective relationships. Finally, he discusses "sharpening the saw", or constantly seeking to review and reevaluate your progress over time and to update goals and habits as needed. The focus on needing to improve yourself prior to improving relationships with others is important; without working on yourself, it will not be as beneficial to work on your interpersonal skills.

“One of the most profound learnings of my life is this: if you want to achieve your highest aspirations and overcome your greatest challenges, identify and apply the principle or natural law that governs the results you seek."- S. Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The Takeaways

Different people took away different things from reading the same book, and discussion helped us to flesh out these ideas. Everyone is working on improving themselves, but with different perspectives. We have been implementing improved interpersonal habits within the office, such as habit 4 (thinking win-win) and habit 5 (seek first to understand). Having everyone in the office equipped with the same terminology and base understanding has enabled some conversations to be more productive, and has allowed us to discuss some issues more frankly and directly. They also help in communication with exterior clients, and can enable us to work with our clients and contractors to solve problems in mutually beneficial ways, rather than thinking in terms of win and loss.

Across the company, we have also brought about a new focus on what Stephen Covey refers to as Quadrant 2. This is the area where you are working to make future tasks easier and more efficient. Many of these items were already in place, but in a looser and less defined manner, and focusing on them has brought new life to them. Examples include improving drafting templates, providing more detailed project information at the beginning of projects, engineering spreadsheet and calculation tools, and more flexible construction details.

7 Habits was an excellent book to get started with. The focus on personal and interpersonal improvement and starting with sound principles is something that everyone can learn from. The last habit, sharpening the saw, also serves to remind us that we are always growing, and that we need to regularly examine ourselves and our relationships and determine how to better them, rather than assuming there is an end "perfect" that we have attained and then stop improving.

G&F Book Club: Chapter 2

The next book we will be taking a look at will be Mark Manson's The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. While the title (and book) may be a bit blunt, the book is intended to provide readers with the tools to ensure they stay productive and to protect their production capacity through saying "No" and not worrying about things that don't need worrying about. It is not just about not caring about saying "No" or being indifferent to life, but rather more about prioritizing and knowing when to care or say "No" to enable you to perform on tasks you have said "Yes" to. Taylor will be taking the lead for the discussion points in the next meeting, which is currently planned for October!


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