March 3, 2015

Sharpen the Saw - The Mental Dimension - Stephen Covey's Explanation

Sharpen The Saw - The 7th Habit in Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

A saw is a tool that helps you to cut a wooden log.  You cannot break many big  wooden logs but you can cut any wooden log. The saw provides you mechanical advantage using which you can apply sufficient force to cut the wood. But the saw has to be sharp. If it is dull, you may find it difficult to cut some logs. You may cut some logs, but you will take a lot of time. So keeping the saw sharp or making the saw sharp is an important activity that one has to do to complete cutting a log effectively and efficiently.

Some people do not keep their saws sharp and they toil all the day and achieve little. If anybody asks them why they are not keeping the saw sharp, they say they don't have the time. It is difficult for you to accept that a workman does not keep his saw sharp. But do you as an MBA graduate, revise your textbooks regularly and keep your knowledge fresh in your brain or memory or mind. What is your answer? Yes or no. No is the answer given by many of the readers(March 2015). Stephen said the same, when he wrote his very famous book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" in 1989. 26 years have passed, the book has become famous but still the world does not follow the principle advocated by one of the top 25 most influential persons of America as declared by Time Magazine. I started this blog in 2012 by transferring my world famous articles - summaries of chapters of famous management textbooks to support Stephen Covey's principle in the case of MBA knowledge and MBA graduates. As a person holding an MBA equivalent qualification, a doctoral degree in management program, and a faculty of MBA equivalent programs, I thought it is a useful and valuable contribution from me to the global community of learners and management practitioners. I am partially successful no doubt, as it is my most successful blog with global audience.  

An explanation of the principle

Don Lucia upload

A Poem on Sharpening the Saw and Seven Habits

I keep myself fit by exercising and  eating right
I improve my knowledge I read and write
I help my friends and feel delight
I wish in the world all enjoy without a fight

I live my life according to Covey's principles
I  remember them as important values
I try to understand what is said by others
Covey said that gives victories

Let me recount the effective seven
Be proactive, think of end and begin
Do first thing first and think win win
Understand first, synergize, and sharpen

Poem written by Narayana Rao K.V.S.S. on 1 March 2015

Sharpening the Saw - Is It Being Done by MBA Graduates?

If we apply what Covey has written to MBA graduates, we can say MBAs leave the college and do not do any more serious reading. MBAs engage in action and many times it may not be effective or efficient as proper knowledge is not applied to cut the wooden log type business problems. Many times they fail or they solve the problem inefficiently. This creates losses for the companies they work for. They don't analyze problems with right skills and they don't write about the issues in clear and concise language so that their subordinates understand and carry out activities using best methods.

Continuing self education, continually honing and expanding the mind is an important renewal activity that increases the production capability, strengthens existing capability and creates managerial slack. Your proactive thinking habit scans the environment and finds right learning opportunities. Sometimes systematic learning devices like textbooks help you in mental saw sharpening process.

I created an yearly revision schedule for MBA graduates to renew their management brain.

Liberal education provides the ability to examine one's life activities against larger questions and purposes of the life and society and that of creation. Covey recommends reading book every week and makes a strong statement. If you do not read you are equal to a person who cannot read.

Apart from reading, writing is an important mental renewal activity. Through written communication, managers can make things more clear so that subordinates understand the issues better.

Planning and organizing are mental activities and they need to begin with the end in mind. Here Covey reiterates the planning basis. One has to determine the objectives first and then start the planning process to achieve that end.

Covey recommends people to spend an hour at least in sharpening the saw in the four dimensions. He said, it will improve the effectiveness of everything done in all the hours during the remaining part of the day. Also, you will be able to face great challenges that appear in everybody's life at some point in time.

Are you convinced?

Start Your "Sharpening The Saw" Activity  Today.

Visit the MBA Knowledge Revision Schedule and Read the articles according to the schedule.

Covey's Legacy



  2. Sharpen the Saw - The Mental Dimension - Stephen Covey's Explanation

    Renew your knowledge - Exercise your knowledge muscles. Read, Write, Think, Plan, Organize, Do visioning exercises.