7 Habits: The Public Victory Phase


In the 7 Habits, the Public Victory Phase is were we take a look back at the first few habits that asked us to examine ourselves and then think about how we can use those habits to start interacting with others.

7 Habits [2008] : The Public Victory Phase
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Covey takes a break from the 7 habits and introduces a new phase, one of “Public Victory” where we move from our first 3 habits of Private Victory in to the 4 habits of public victory.

The Public Phase is one where we move from our newly formed independent selves into “interdependent” people; we learn to trust and rely on people, build relationships and become trustworthy and reliable ourselves. He states:

Self-mastery and self-discipline are the foundation of good relationships with others.

In the first three habits, we learned to become masters of ourselves, to know our destinies and priorities and with these in place, we can now move into the “Public” phase and start building meaningful relationships with others – whether that be friends, colleagues, spouses or children.

The main thrust of becoming truly interdependent is that we need to be true to  ourselves (our character ethic) rather than to be superficial (our personality ethic). People can see right through superficiality and will lose all respect for us.

In order to be interdependent, we need to have mastered the following skills from the first three habits:

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Only when we have fully mastered the above core habits can we then start to move into our public interdependent phase, a quick-fix “band-aid” approach won’t work – and in the end could prove damaging to the relationships you’re trying to build.

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7 Habits Official Workbook

The Emotional Bank Account

In order to be interdependent, Covey tells us to look at our “Emotional Bank Account”. This is where we build up capital (or expenditure) for use in our dealings with other people. In order to put a deposit in we need to be kind, keep our word, act with courtesy and honesty etc. If we act the opposite i.e. break promises, are insensitive etc. this leads us to make a withdrawal and too many of those can make us overdrawn.

The more you have in your emotional bank account, the more respect you will engender. People will be willing to help you, trust you and work with you and you will feel better for it.

If you’re emotionally overdrawn, there’ll be little or no trust, you’ll feel uncomfortable and end up in a hostile environment with a general lack of communication.

Covey backs up his emotional bank account analogy with 6 forms of deposits (although he does list 7 – is that a typo?) that can be made into it:

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  1. Understanding the individual – You need to do this before you try to deposit anything else. You need to understand what the person needs and wants not just what you want.
  2. Attend to the little things – in relationships, the little things can snowball to become big things. Just a simple “Hello” and a smile every morning to a co-worker can say more than a thousand words.
  3. Keep Commitments – As my mum used to say, never make a promise you can’t keep. But, there are odd occasions when we truly can’t keep a promise so, in order to stop a major emotional withdrawal happening let the person know why and that you’re sorry. Being honest will go a long way.
  4. Clarify your expectations – What do they expect from this, not just what you expect. If they’re at odds then a satisfactory conclusion will never be reached
  5. Show personality integrity – This goes beyond just keeping promises, it’s fulfilling and managing expectations and going the extra “mile”. This is also about showing general loyalty to people, especially those not around (i.e. don’t slag them off just because they can’t hear you – remember the walls have ears!)
  6. Apologise when making a withdrawal – Sometimes we can’t help break a promise or hurt someone’s feelings so you need to bite the bullet and be man (or woman) enough to apologise – and mean it!

What I learned from this chapter

It was quite nice to take a break from the overall habit structure and I like Covey’s analogy of an emotional bank account. I’ve started to think a bit more about whether I am making a “withdrawal” or a “deposit” and it’s certainly lead me to be “depositing” a lot more!

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What am I going to do about it?

I’m going to keep trying with this “Emotional Bank Account”, taking particular note of other people’s needs. I’m also going to try to ensure that I keep all my promises – even if that means not making the ones I don’t think I can keep (is that cheating?!)

Interested in this book? Buy the 7 Habits of highly effective people from Amazon today

About The Author
Katy is always trying to be more productive one day at a time! Whether it's analogue, digital, motivational or psychological who'll try any system that will help her get things done and get organised. As well as running FlippingHeck.com, she also loves making music and reviewing things.
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