Making Great Kids and Outstanding Restaurants with the 7 Habits

My second-grade daughter – and all the second-graders in the Dallas Independent School District – are spending time learning the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

When Stephen Covey’s book first came out in 1989, it was revolutionary, cutting-edge thought about how to live your life.

I used 7 Habits in my business, taking my nightclub management teams to see Covey speak at the Grand Kempinski Hotel in Dallas.

Then I challenged them to use this material in our business.

It only took 30 years for the 7 Habits to get to 7-year-olds.


Who Says Nothing Lasts Forever?


What makes something like 7 Habits hang around for so long and affect so many people and age groups?

Covey’s book stressed fundamentals.

And fundamentals – whether we use them in our restaurants, to manage our companies, or live our lives – last longer than we do.

In second grade, the original book has been adapted for a younger audience with The Leader in Me.

So, for instance, to Habit 3 (Put First Things First), The Leader in Me adds, “Work First, Then Play.”

Also, to Habit 4 (Think Win-Win) The Leader in Me adds, “Everybody Can Win.”

The school encourages parents to talk about 7 Habits at home so students will make the connection to the work in the class.

I experience solid entertainment value from the day-ending dessert when my daughter and I try to list all seven habits from memory before we read bedtime stories.

It’s astonishing that I have moved so far on this – from discussing this material with my General Managers to listing habits with my daughter.


Matthew’s 7 Habits – Adapted for Restaurateurs


Take a look at Covey’s 7 Habits – adapted with my thoughts for you, the successful owner of a multi-unit independent restaurant company.

  1. Be Proactive – Establish a clear strategy, then work from it; never be a victim.
  2. Begin with the End in Mind – Create a clear vision, then work backwards to make it real.
  3. Put First Things First – Develop a sequence of tactics and methodology to create that vision. Don’t allow shiny objects to distract you.
  4. Think Win-Win – Do the right thing for guests and employees. Focus on that. You’ll see that even competitive markets have plenty of business for everyone.
  5. Seek First to Understand, and Then Be Understood – Always let your team members have the first word. Follow that up with yours so they participate, learn, and grow.
  6. Synergize – Don’t try to do everything yourself. Use insiders and outsiders in growing your brands, company, and net worth.
  7. Sharpen the Saw – The success of your company and the market share of your brand depend on everyone who contributes to improving every year.

These 7 Habits go to work when building revenue, profit, unit growth, harmony, freedom, and net worth for my clients.

Over to you. What amped-up success will you have when you adopt these habits?