When you talk about groundbreaking books that have fundamentally changed the
landscape of how we as professionals work and live The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People jumps to the top of the list. I had the pleasure of not just reading the book but also going to a five-day boot-camp where many of Stephen Covey's concepts were re-inforced and applied to us as managers. Even though that was almost 20 years ago the concepts still are highly applicable today and are every bit as important as they were when Covey first penned them. Super powerful stuff.
The foundational element of the book centers around the Seven Habits Paradigm, which progresses from dependence to independence to interdependence as follows:
1. Be Proactive
2. Begin with the End in Mind
3. Put First Things First
4. Think Win/Win
5. Seek First to Understand...Then to be Understood
7. Sharpen the Saw
One of the most foundational aspects of the Covey book for me was the development of a personal mission statement. It actually took me ten years to crystallize on a mission statement as I was going through Rick
Warren's The Purpose Driven Life that I could truly internalize and get energized around. The Covey book was the mustard seed which started the ball rolling for me.