Biak Sung’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families (Part 2)

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Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families (Part Two)

The Root, The Route, and The Fruit, with Biak Sung

In our last post, we spoke with Windrose’s own Biak Sung and explored the first three habits of the popular book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families,’ including the benefits we stand to gain by putting them into practice.  Here is the final half of Biak Sung’s impressions of Steven Covey‘s Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families.

Most people find that these steps are considerably harder than the first three.  While the first steps focus on achieving independence, these latter steps focus on interdependence. These steps are all about diversity and inclusion–and require families to have a more open point of view.

(Biak’s comments in italics below each step)

Steven Covey describes these last few Habits of Highly Effective Families as the beginning (Root), the means (Route), and the rewards (Fruit) of our labor.

4.  Think Win-Win® – Learn how to develop deep and lasting relationships with family members

By seeking ‘win-win’ arrangements, habit four emphasizes mutual benefit–situations where everyone is satisfied. This nurturing attitude, when cultivated consistently, is the root from which the next habits grow.

“I’m a pretty good student of human behavior, and after spending time with Donna Vaughan, Scott Rollett and Mike Kolenda, I can say that they are truly interested in finding ways for all of us to win–the patient, the employee, and the company.  Windrose has recently begun a service excellence program to recognize teams working effectively together.”


5. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood® – Communicate with greater understanding

This habit is the route– the method for deep interaction. This habit allows us to step out of our own paradigm and embrace the heart and head of the other person.

“This habit focuses on the idea of putting someone else first completely, before any of our own interests.  This can be frustrating, as we’re hard-wired to see things from our point of view and resist the views of others.  I think of Mother Theresa as a personal role model in this area.  I love this stuff, you could make sermons out of it!”


6. Synergize® – Let differences unite, not divide

Finally, synergizing is the fruit of the efforts made above. The third-option alternatives to my way or your way tend to be the best way forward. By practicing this habit, compromise becomes a way of daily living and loving within a family.  The key is finding a way for the whole to be greater than the sum of its parts.   Steps four, five, and six are all dependent on diversity, but step six especially requires patience with our loved ones.  For these reasons, it is the most difficult step.

“It’s like when you’re in a group project at school feeling frustrated with classmates and wishing you had clones of yourself.  Of course, with only one person’s input this would become a boring group project!  To truly excel, it is necessary to embrace our differences–even when they cause us frustration.  To achieve this step, it is essential to limit decision-making (or even interaction) with peers during these times of emotional frustration.  Patience is a virtue here.

In these chapters, Steven Covey expresses his belief that parents are setting too much pressure on kids with curfews, grades, and other harsh rules.  When a family is able to find a middle ground of understanding, each family member is encouraged to continue working on their strengths in ways that benefit the family as a whole.  This reminds me of discussing Chin families in our last conversation; it is important to always respect your family member’s perspective on a matter–even if you disagree with it.  Even when our children are as small as one or two years old, we must respect their human experience.  They are always entitled to their feelings.


7. Sharpen the Saw® – Grow together with your family

In the final chapter, Covey emphasizes the need for every family to renew itself in the four key areas of life: physical, social, mental, and spiritual. The importance of traditions is emphasized here as the secret to staying healthy in these key areas of life.

” I think sharpening the saw is definitely something I struggle with.  Parents in Asian-American families and other collectivistic cultures have a harder time acknowledging when they need to work on themselves as an individual.  I don’t mean to speak for anyone else, but in my experience our parents tend to forget that in order to truly help others we need to take care of ourselves first.  We need time for self-reflection.”


By practicing these seven habits, you and your family can continue to grow together with positive mental and physical health.   We hope you enjoyed our book review, please be sure to check out more from Steven Covey here.
Discussion of relationship between ethnicity and mental health, featuring experts Pauline Kattady, Biak Sung, and Dr Kate Wegmann.

Learn more about mental health and ethnicity with Biak Sung, here.

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