Effective habits at Siemens Family Law Group

Jim Siemens

Certified Family Law Specialist


The Siemens Family Law Group attended a FranklinCovey 7 Habits Signature Program in April, 2012.   We thought the program was important enough that all present members of the group were in attendance and active participants.  The training was premised on the 7 Habits paradigm that Stephen Covey has created.

The first three habits are habits are foundational.  The first of these is proactivity.  Proactive leaders work from the circle of their own influence and are not distracted by outside influences over which they have no control.  Proactive leaders respond to stimulus proactively, rather than reactively.  Proactive leaders recognize that they have the freedom to choose their responses.

Effective leaders approach tasks with the end in mind.  They envision their end point and survey the route that will get them there.  If you don’t know where you are going, you can’t lead.  Beginning with the end in mind is the second habit.

Putting first things first is the third habit.  Leaders adopting this habit identify and sort out truly important tasks from those tasks that consume time and energy, but which are not truly important. Stephen Covey encourages identifying and eliminating distraction.  Leaders who are distracted are not effective.

With these foundational habits engrained personally, Stephen Covey suggests moving toward interaction with others from a win/win mindset.  The fourth habit of an effective leader, then, is to think win/win.  This type of thinking calls for the achievement of your goals, but also the achievement of the goals of those with whom you interact.

The fifth habit is that of empathic listening (as opposed to autobiographical listening) as you interact with others.  Empathic listening does not involve advice giving, probing, or judgment.  The goal of an empathic listener is to understand the feeling and substance being expressed by the speaker before the listener responds.  When that understanding is reached, rapport is established and one can then seek to be understood.

The habit of synergy is the sixth habit, the natural culmination of the previously described habits, and the ideal outcome of relationships with others.  Synergy is something Covey refers to as the “third alternative” which emerges when people collaborate.  When leaders synergize, they can create outcomes that are greater than the sum of the resources applied.

The seventh habit is the habit of recreation or re-creation.  He calls the habit “sharpening the saw”.  What he emphasizes is that effective leaders have a responsibility to take care of themselves mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally.  Only by doing so can leaders expect continuity of leadership.

We came away from the training committed to applying these habits in our work for clients.  We see the potential for continued professional and personal growth as the 7 habits are applied.  A mission statement for the Siemens Family Law Group was borne out of the process: Justice through proactivity and effective communication.