Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families follows the basic rules of his other 7 Habits books. But there is actually something missing. There is a reason that my book is entitled The 8 Keys and not The 7 Keys. There are actually eight components to a family’s long-term financial success. Yes, a family can be very highly functioning and have great relationships by following Stephen Covey’s formula. But the family will never grow financially from generation to generation.

You see, my book is The 8 Keys: How Wealthy Families Maintain Their Success (coming soon) and not The 7 Keys, because there are actually eight components to a family’s long-term financial success. Yes, a family can be very highly functioning and have great relationships by following Stephen Covey’s formula. But the family will never grow financially from generation to generation.

To be blunt … Stephen Covey’s book should really be called The 7 habits of Highly Effective POOR Families.

Review of Covey’s 7 Habits.

Habit 1 is to be proactive. I interpret this as the 4th Key, namely using your intellect. Make a decision about what you want, and then make it happen. In the family context, Covey talks about becoming the agent of change in your family. And that makes sense.

Habit 2 is to begin with the end in mind. This is the 1st Key. Figure out what your passion is, and then let that guide you.

Habit 3 is to put first things first. This is the 6th key. Covey says to make family a priority in a turbulent world. In other words, don’t avoid family obligations. Remember that the 6th Key is about what we avoid, and what we take personal responsibility for. Make it your personal responsibility to make family a priority.

Habit 4 is to think “win-win.” Move from “Me” to “We.” This is the 5th Key. With a healthy self-esteem, you can think beyond your own needs, and see the bigger family context.

Habit 5 is to seek first to understand and then be understood. This is the 3rd Key. Covey says to solve family problems through empathic communication. Yes, communication is key in business and in a family.

Habit 6 is to synergize. Covey says to build family unity through celebrating differences. This is related to the 7th Key. A successful family will have a constitution that sets forth the rules and structure of the family. Members are always encouraged to participate and be part of the group. But they are not required to. Equally important is to have a way for members to dissociate from the family if they want, and to express their unique views. This will be the topic of future blog posts, since it is fairly advanced.

Habit 7 is to sharpen the saw. This is related to Key 2. A physical reality is that we can’t work like machines. We need to renew our personal spirit and family spirit through traditions, vacations, and breaks from the day-to-day monotony.

The way for a family to continue to grow its wealth generation after generation is to have a… Click To Tweet

The missing Habit.

And … Habit 8 is missing. It SHOULD be something like following the Minimum Effort, Maximum Efficiency law. Water always finds its equilibrium by running downhill. And money will always tend to leak out of the family unless there is a mechanism for keeping it and growing it. Nothing stays the same in this world. It is either growing or dying. That goes for money as well. In the context of a wealthy family, the way for a family to continue to grow its wealth generation after generation is to have a family office. Perhaps there is an alternative. But I have not found it.

I hope I have not somehow dishonored the Covey family by writing this blog. If the Covey family wants to engage in a dialogue, I would welcome it. Perhaps a new edition can be written, to be titled The 8 Habits of Highly Effective WEALTHY Families. Just saying.

If you have questions about the 8th Key … namely, family offices … contact me.

How Wealthy Families Maintain Their Success

Learn the “8 Keys” that must happen at each generation for a family to maintain its success (and grow) indefinitely from attorney Paul Deloughery as he uses his family history to demonstrate the 8 Keys at work.

 

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