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7 Habits of Highly Defective People

Stephen Covey shared the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People in 1989.  Karla Nelson and Allen Fahden add a little to his great discourse, looking at what are the habits of Highly Defective people. They answer questions like “How do you not put the sin in synergy?” “Are you being broactive instead of proactive?” and “Do you put the worst or first things first?” 


Listen to the podcast here:   

7 Habits of Highly Defective People 

Karla Nelson:  Welcome to the People Catalyst Podcast, my friend Allen Fahden. 

Allen Fahden:  Hello, Karla Nelson. 

Karla Nelson:  Greetings, how are you today, my friend? 

Allen Fahden:  Well, I’m feeling synergized. 

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, that’s because this book that we’re going to talk about today was one of the first business books that I ever read, and it was actually kind of new at the time. Now it’s, I think, gosh, it was published in 1989, so it’s been around for quite some time. It is The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, however, for this podcast, we’re going to talk about the seven habits of highly defective people. First, let’s talk a little bit about the book, and it was written by Stephen Covey, obviously he’s no longer with us, but an amazing author that has written … I think I might have read almost every single book he’s written, and everybody knew when, frankly, Covey came around. I used to carry those big, hoking, what were those things called? You know, the big kind of- 

Allen Fahden:  The planners? 

Karla Nelson:  Planners. I had like a new one every year and I kept it on my shelf, I probably did that for 10 years. My purse even was a Franklin Covey purse. 

Allen Fahden:  I held one around in a boat trailer for years. 

Karla Nelson:  Everyone knows, and the time management, there’s so many things that the author has brought to light in the business community. This particular book, again, I said was published in 1989, has sold over 25 million copies. One of the interesting things I think that you hear throughout the book is, in obviously The Seven Habits of Effectiveness, and he refers to a fable that most kids know as they’re growing up, which is the goose that lays the golden egg. We don’t want to kill the goose, we don’t want to do the wrong thing, so the habits actually refer to the goose. 

Then you do these habits, and then you get the golden egg, so it’s a real basic concept of that. It outlines really, like a lot of people can look at the same thing and see it different ways. 

Allen Fahden:  Yeah, reminds me of our theme, “People are different.” 

Karla Nelson:  Exactly. I really think that it identifies in this theme, it becomes … When people look at things differently in different ways, it can be a real big road block not only professionally, just personally as well. The solution to this that Covey goes through in the book is something that he calls, and I don’t know if he created or coined the term because there’s a couple things that he models that he didn’t create, but it’s called the “maturity continuum”. Covey breaks down the maturity continuum in three different stages of maturity, that being dependence, independence, and then interdependence, and with the goal being getting to interdependence. 

Allen Fahden:  Right, and you can look at that in somebody’s life, you’re a baby you’re completely dependent, and then you experience your independence in the terrible twos, and you say, “No no no,” to everything. Then as you mature, you become interdependent, and there’s a lot of things he’s talking about there, but let’s talk about the meaning of each of these in business. That’s a good parallel, I think. 

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, and really he’s explaining it that way, but at the end of the day, I think if it was explained that way, it would’ve been a little bit more of an understanding, because in the book it really identifies in a different way, not specific just to business, right? 

Allen Fahden:  Right. In business, think about a work model from 50 or 100 years ago, where there was a boss telling people what to do. All you do is basically, it’d be a person giving orders and then a bunch of people obeying orders, and there’s plenty of holdovers into that. One CEO’s definition of a team is a bunch of people sitting in a room doing what I say. 

Karla Nelson:  Or, “I tell them what to do, and they do it, and then I change it after, and it’s because I said so.” 

Allen Fahden:  It gets even more fun, doesn’t it? That’s dependence, and then of course with innovation and technology really came the need for independence, where people actually brought themselves to work and did some thinking. Then people would start arguing, because somebody would love one idea and somebody else would love another idea, and so then you got independence which contributes a lot more in terms of what we can do that’s going to be innovative, and contribute a lot of value. But then it all gets destroyed in the fight, so that doesn’t work so well either. 

Then he talks about interdependence, and that’s really what the book is about. It’s about documenting the move, but there are great habits all the way along for dependence, independence, and interdependence. 

Karla Nelson:  Yeah. With the focus of the book obviously being on the seven habits and then moving you to interdependence, and really, interdependence is the we, and they talk about combining the talents with the focus on the team. That kind of reminds me of a little certain model we’re a little fond of. 

Allen Fahden:  Yeah, how about that? It’s also kind of interesting too, because the we turned out to be not what everybody thought it was, which is the we was like sacrificing yourself for the greater good and so on, and actually what we’ve modified it to is a way where the individual can win at the same time as the team wins. 

Karla Nelson:  It’s both, it’s I and we together. 

Allen Fahden:  That’s right. 

Karla Nelson:  Actually, I remember we did a podcast on the I, we, me, all, or something. 

Allen Fahden:  That’s right, that’s right. The mixture or the hand-off is where people actually, the roles change for the benefit of the team, and that’s a really important distinction. 

Karla Nelson:  Absolutely, because when you say, “Oh, everybody needs to be interdependent and listen to everybody,” well you’re never going to get anything done. You have to have the balance of not chucking everybody in a room and saying “good luck”, well first, not chucking everybody in a room saying, “Do what I say,” not chucking everybody in the room and saying, “Good luck, go ahead,” and then … 

Allen Fahden:  Yeah, waiting for magic to happen. 

Karla Nelson:  Yeah. Then not chucking everybody in the room and just saying, “Hey, synergize and work together as a team.” Well, here’s the problem with that: how do you do it?  

Allen Fahden:  That puts the sin in synergize. 

Karla Nelson:  Exactly. The funny thing is, is that you think, “Oh great, yes, that sounds good,” but you really outlying the problem more than you’re outlying the specific solution. You can say, “Oh, well, be interdependent.” All right. From the big picture, it really sounds great and everybody agrees with these principles. I can’t think of anybody that’s not going to think about saying yes to what’s outlined in the book, but like a lot of business books, it’s too big of a picture. It’s almost sophisticating the problem, that you can enunciate the sophistication of the problem, but then there’s no real how. You get a big picture solution, you read the book, you’re so excited and you’re like, “Oh, this is amazing and I feel enlightened,” but then you’ve got to go back to work, and do something. 

Allen Fahden:  And you’re slimed again, slimed. Yeah, you try to make it work, and of course, knowing something is great, except it’s the booby prize. You’ve got to be able to do something, and so you try to make it work, but the fact is, if these business books all did so well, then why is it that today, 70% of the people still hate their jobs, and 90% of the CEOs who get fired, it is usually because they can’t get a new idea done in their own company that they manage and control. It’s missing, it’s like Simon Cynic says, “It’s not the what or the how, it’s the why first,” but it’s still not the what or the how after you have your why, it’s the who and the when. 

Karla Nelson:  You got it, absolutely. This is so critical, because your biggest, best employee, probably, or team member, or this could be anybody on your team, we have discussed many times it could be your channel partner that you’re in a meeting with, but you’re braving teammates that want to really put their dent on the universe, your greatest assets are probably soaking in these business books. I did, I think I read one a week when I first started out in business, and they want to go out and they want to make these things happen. They’ve got high hopes, especially the millennials these days, because they’ve grown up with kids becoming billionaires. 

Well, not kids, but 20-year-olds and at least kids becoming millionaires, and that was never really a thing in the past unless you were born into money. They’ve got these high hopes, they want to go ahead and do something, and then they go (trumpets). 

Allen Fahden:  (trumpets) 

Karla Nelson:  You do that so much better than I do. 

Karla Nelson:  Now all of the sudden they’re feeling totally disappointed, “I wanted to do it, and I want it so badly.” It’s not like they’re not working hard, you have to have a method to be able to make it work. 

Allen Fahden:  Absolutely. Disappointment I believe is one of the most destructive emotions in business, and here we set people up all the time for disappointment. I’ll give you an extreme example of how people can go to a high high and wind up bitter and disengaged, and that is, you remember the ropes courses that people used to do.- 

Karla Nelson:  I did a couple of those. 

Allen Fahden:  Yeah.- 

Karla Nelson:  Then remember they gave you the wall, and remember getting the last person over the wall? 

Allen Fahden:  Right. 

Karla Nelson:  You did the ropes course, but then you had to like chuck everybody over the wall, but then you had to figure out how to work as a team to hold someone’s hand, to bring them up over the wall. 

Allen Fahden:  Yeah, the toughest shot down men are weeping and things like that, and it’s like this great transformational moment. That’s on a Sunday, we’ve spent the whole weekend on the ropes course, and then when we get back to work Monday and we’re all excited, “Hey, let’s have a beer this week, and my former enemy is now my friend, everything’s great,” except for one thing. That is, that it’s sort of like a metaphor, where let’s say that my truck was parked on your foot and it hurt your foot, and we got back from the weekend, and then you realize my truck was still parked on your foot.  

Now, what is that a metaphor for? It might be, if I were a shaker and I came up with ideas, and you all used to critique my ideas, well guess what? After the weekend, you’d probably still critique my ideas because it’s your nature. You might shut up about it for a day or two not to make problems, but pretty soon everybody goes back to their core nature, and if we ignore that, we ignore it at our own peril. 

Karla Nelson:  Even with the WHO-DO model and the WHO-DO method, I mean which is a business model, is that it’s hard, this is difficult, this is not easy work. It reminds me of, this was so … It was, I don’t know, it was probably a month, six-week long training, I think we met with this company every two weeks for three hours or something, I can’t remember the specifics of it. 

Allen Fahden:  Close enough. 

Karla Nelson:  It was a long term training, okay? That was my point, it wasn’t just two days in and out. We play games with people, just like you used the ropes course as a metaphor, we used many different games as a metaphor to learn the process. The reason why we play a game is because we know when you go back to work, it’s going to be hard to utilize it. We actually play a game, teach the model, or the method … Why do I keep on saying “model” today? We teach the Hudu method, and then we play a game. All right, they learn the Hudu, and then the next time we come and we introduce a game and we give it to them. Sure enough, they go right back to their core nature, they don’t remember what they learned the last time. 

Allen Fahden:  Yeah, and it’s crazy because the games are designed to bring up the sort of barriers that you’d face, the obstacles that would make you think in the old way, like what you do with the obstacles, but then of course you’ve learned this new method, then you can think of it in the new way. 

Karla Nelson:  I know, and then we give it to them again, and then they still do the same thing. Then we teach them, obviously we go back and run the process and realize that if they spent 80% of the time running the process and 20% of the time doing … But we’re taught to just get in and move. By the way, number one, be proactive, right? It’s like, “Wait, no, yeah, proactive, but still,” 80% of your time needs to be figuring out the idea and figuring out what you’re going to do. Of course, we’re talking about the ideation process, not the implementation but the initial aspect of what are we going to do, and this is the basis of a lot of meetings.  

In three games they went through, every single game … Actually, I think we played four, and then we’d go back through and then again run the process and show them that you took this amount of time and completely failed, it took you less time to run the process, go with it, and they had incredible results, which we experience every single time you have a team and you have a facilitator to run the team. We also know that when that happens, they have to go home. What we’ll do is then we’ll work on a true problem in business, and what do they do? Run right back home to mommy, so much so that when we start working on a new problem that’s real, we often have to have each core nature of work leave the room, because they don’t know it well enough to be able to facilitate, because we can’t deny who we are. 

It’s awesome that we’re different and we can leverage that, but it gets so messy, and that’s why it’s really important to find the mover, because that mover is the only 15% of the population that accepts new ideas. They are very excited when they see things like this because they’re a doer, so they want to do it, they want to and they’re natural people, team orientated, because even if they don’t like them they don’t really care, because they know they need them. On top of it, you can teach the mover to allow everyone to have authority at the proper time that they need authority, whether they’re a mover, shaker, approver, or a maker. 

Allen Fahden:  Yeah, and then keep them in their own lane when they don’t have that authority. It’s old habits die really hard, and so if you’ve been doing something the same for your entire career, you just got to cut everybody a little slack. It takes a few times to really get the new habit integrated. 

Karla Nelson:  Exactly, exactly. 

Allen Fahden:  What are most companies stuck with, instead of a process for getting things done? They’re stuck with org charts, and it’s like, “Karla, you own customer service, so you must know everything about it, and everybody else shut up while Karla talks about customer service.” That’s a lot of bloviated meetings that people have, and nothing gets done. That’s why we have to move from function management to role management. 

Karla Nelson:  Yep, it’s not about the job title, it’s about what your core nature of work is, what you are brilliant at, and everybody thinks you also need to be a specialist in technology, that’s not true. Your core nature of work can be leveraged, and oftentimes you can bring a different perspective because somebody’s been looking at something for so long. It’s not just about being the person, the go-to person for marketing, because somebody who never marketed can open your space with their core nature of work that you never even thought of. 

Allen Fahden:  Absolutely. The most brilliant ideas come from out of context, not in context. The more a person knows, the more they get stuck and calcified in their own point of views. By shifting that whole thing and having the right people in the right place at the right time doing the right thing, then all kinds of new perspectives get in, and it doesn’t get messy because you just keep handing it off. 

Karla Nelson:  Let’s talk a little bit about these seven habits that we love, completely agree with. Everybody’s going to say these things are fantastic, however, we’re going to also juxtapose a little bit about then utilizing the method, and we’re going to do them real quick because seven is obviously a lot of habits to take in. The first is, be proactive, I’ve kind of already talked about that one. 

Allen Fahden:  Yes, and now being proactive is a habit of a highly effective person, and now there’s a habit of a highly defective person, and that’s being bro-active. Now, what does bro-active mean? That means 

Karla Nelson:  You’re so funny. 

Allen Fahden:  one of my bros, and we’re going to go out and we’re going to have a couple of beers, and we’re going to talk about this, and the rest of you can kind of sit on the sidelines because it’s me and my posse who are doing this. 

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, “I’m on the top of the org chart.” 

Allen Fahden:  Yeah, “I’m being bro-active.” 

Karla Nelson:  That’s funny. Then the next habit is, beginning with the end in mind. Everybody knows that you need to have a business plan, everybody knows you need to think about your exit strategy, in personal life everybody knows that you need to have a trust or a will, depending on what you need. Everybody knows that, but executing is a whole different situation, and so utilizing the method can get it from, “Yes, this is a good idea, this is solid,” but a great idea is nothing without it being implemented. 

Allen Fahden:  That’s right, the end in mind is not enough, you’ve got to have the end actually accomplished. 

Karla Nelson:  Exactly. The third is, put first things first, and this actually came from the Eisenhower matrix that Covey used, and he actually has a book, First Thing’s First, that I’ve probably read twice because I’m a mover and I want to know how to. 

Allen Fahden:  You’ve got priorities, naturally. 

Karla Nelson:  Priorities, exactly. The thing about putting first things first, is that while everyone’s … Okay, so I’ll do this from a mover perspective. I always say, “Makers eat checklists for breakfast,” and people ask me why do I have five different checklists for different things on my desk. Well, here’s the thing, most of those things I’m not doing, but I’m managing the things that need to be done and going to the appropriate person at the appropriate time. While I love the Eisenhower matrix and that’s an entire podcast in its own right, at the same time, a maker is going to look at a checklist than a prover, than a mover, than a shaker.  

Completely different, and how do you quarterback that checklist, where it’s not just a checklist where nothing gets done the next day? Like how many times have you written a checklist and something’s been on there for two weeks? I get it, put first things first, but you still have to move that forward. We probably should do a podcast just on that thing, we could do it on that book, Put First Things First. 

Allen Fahden:  Well, there’s a book. Yeah, because that was the one everybody in their feedback said, “We want a book on this one,” and they all kept saying First Things First, First Things First. 

Karla Nelson:  I’m going to write that down on my checklist. 

Allen Fahden:  Yeah, and then get somebody else to do it. 

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, but you always have a different parody for this one. 

Allen Fahden:  Of course. The highly effective person says, “First thing’s first,” and the highly defective person says, “Worst thing’s first.” 

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, social media on Monday morning. 

Allen Fahden:  Yes, exactly, because of all the unengaged people. Of course, also when the boss finally decides and picks the idea because they’re the boss, oftentimes they’ll pick the worst idea, so there you go off with these priorities. Instead of the matrix being important and urgent, the worst thing’s first matrix for highly defective people is, instead of important and urgent it’s stupid and unpleasant, always do the stupid and unpleasant thing first. 

Karla Nelson:  You crack me up. Okay, so those first three were under the category in Covey’s book for independence, these are the things that you’re going to show up and do every day and contribute to the team. All right, so now let’s move to the fourth habit, which now we’re moving into interdependence, remember this is the whole we focus. That habit is, think win-win, this one really actually irritates me, because people don’t know what that means. 

Think about it, a shaker is win, their win feels like you took my idea, but that is not going to work because that’s one person making the decision. A mover is going to think win-win when the entire team is allowing them to quarterback the process, because they hate to be in meetings that nothing happens, they hate it when something doesn’t get done that they know should be done. Then again, prover looks at win-win totally different, and maker probably doesn’t care that much, they just want to go back to their desk and eat their checklist for breakfast. 

Allen Fahden:  Right. 

Karla Nelson:  When you say, “Think win-win,” it’s like yeah, the mindset is awesome and everybody says yes, it’s just how do you execute win-win? 

Allen Fahden:  Yeah, right. 

Karla Nelson:  It’s crazy. Then you go back to work and you went like, “Think win-win,” and you sit at your desk, “No, I’ve got to think win-win.” Well, we can all sit around the fire and sing Kumbaya too, it’s like at the end of the day, you’ve got to get something done. The next one I really, really enjoy and I actually, this is probably something that the Hudu method could add too, but it’s a principle that I think everybody, and I could do way better at this as well, but it really is interesting when you think, first to understand then to be understood. 

The Hudu method can allow you to understand the core nature of work too, because it’s hard to understand somebody’s perspective of what they bring to the table as far as work without understanding the thing that they do best. I think that part, and the way the Hudu method can help is highlighting what somebody is, because we go to shakers and say, “Squirrel, cheap idea fairy, your head’s in the clouds,” we don’t focus on what they’re good at. Movers, we go, “Gosh, you’re so bossy, you always have to be in charge,” provers, “Gosh, you’re a nay-sayer,” makers, “You never have an original idea.” It’s hard to understand some of this core nature work, because when you’re a hammer, everything’s a nail. 

Allen Fahden:  Right, so yeah, it’s a really good point. It’s a whole different way of understanding that really completes the picture. 

Karla Nelson:  Yes, you got it. 

Allen Fahden:  Whenever I look at seek first to understand, all I can think of is the cartoon where she says, “I emote, I consider his feelings, I seek to understand,” and then he says, “My style is different, I wait ’til her lips stop moving and then talk about myself some more.” 

Karla Nelson:  That’s what a lot of people do. Honestly, I have to be aware of this, but when you see somebody’s core nature of work, you can manage it. Because everyone’s different, your understanding of them is going to be different, so if you’re a shaker and you’re having to work with a prover, you’d better understand that person’s a prover because no matter how much you try to understand them, you can’t see work through their eyes, as hard as you try. You can understand that they see it differently and understand how they see it, but you’re never going to put their glasses on because it’s impossible. 

It was funny, we were keynoting a talk out with one of our other trainers, and I’ll never forget when he looked over at me, and because I can be, I’m a D on the disc and I’m also a mover, so I want things done, I want them done yesterday, and I don’t care if I have to pull a 24-hour shift. I said I was going to do it, it’s going to be done and it’s going to be excellent, that’s just unfortunately, I can leave dead bodies in my wake if I’m not aware of it. We were doing this huge, two-day event, and he looked over at me, he goes, “You know what? Sometimes you drive me crazy because you’re a mover and a D, but today I’m pretty happy you are, because you go out there and it’s excellent.” 

How awesome is that, to be highlighted for what you are, versus constantly beat down for what you’re not? That happens so often, it’s hard to understand that other person’s perspective. The last, the seventh habit, which is under the synergize category, is what Covey has, is sharpen the saw. Basically, all that means is, go take a break every once and a while. By the way, I can learn from that one too. Everybody knows the parody is, who is going to cut down a tree faster, the one that just keeps on chopping and chopping and chopping, or the one that stops to sharpen their saw every once and a while? That, sharpen the saw could also be learn a new technique, he was just using it as a parody. 

Allen Fahden:  Yep, yep. 

Karla Nelson:  I think you have your own parody on this one. 

Allen Fahden:  Oh yeah. Well, the highly effective person sharpens the saw and uses the Japanese idea of kaisan, however you pronounce it. 

Karla Nelson:  I think they usually say kaisan in English, but I think kaisan is actually the proper way. 

Allen Fahden:  I like zen, because it’s zen, it’s like zen. The highly defective person that doesn’t sharpen the saw, they sharpen the shovel, and do it with caca and sin. Sorry about that, but what they do is constantly improve the way we shovel the BS in and out. That’s a highly defective person, sharpening the shovel. 

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, I love that. It’s so true though, it’s like how are you going to shovel some more BS around? Let’s just get down to making something happen and getting things done. I think that was also another book we might have to do a podcast on, getting things done, because we probably have a lot to say about that. 

Allen Fahden:  Just a little bit, yes. 

Karla Nelson:  Awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining me today, as always, Allen. I love these podcasts, I love business books, and I really love helping our listeners then utilize these business books to be able to get what you want done, and remove that disappointment that you have when you’ve read … What book did I read? Michael Gerber. 

Allen Fahden:  The E-Myth? 

Karla Nelson:  Yes, I read that book seven times, I’m not joking. Seven times, it made me excited when I read it, and then I had to go to work. I would sit there and go, “Work on your business, not in your business, work on your business. Okay, how do I separate those?” Because I had to do both, but that’s for another podcast. Thank you so much, and for our listeners, you can go to thepeoplecatalyst.com and reach out, and we’d be happy to answer any questions that you have, and we’ve got plenty of podcasts there as well. Until next time, Allen. 

Allen Fahden:  Thank you, Karla. 

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