top of page

Four Dimensions Of Effective Organization

Abraham Lincoln is popularly believed to have said that if he had six hours to chop down a tree, he would spend the first four hours sharpening the ax.

This story illustrates what Lincoln meant.

A man was once walking in the woods when he came across someone sawing wood.

He said, “You really look beat. How long have you been sawing wood?”

“Many hours,” the other man replied.

“The saw must be dull by now,” said the man. “Maybe you should stop and sharpen the saw.”

“Yes,” the other man replied, “but I don’t have time to stop to sharpen the saw.”

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey uses this story to explain what Habit 7, “Sharpen the Saw,” means.

Every person needs to balance four different dimensions of their lives and intentionally take time to sharpen the saw of each dimension.

They are:

1. The physical, which consists of the right diet and exercise.

2. The social/emotional, which is where we build and maintain relationships.

3. The mental, which is where we broaden our minds mostly by reading and learning new things.

4. The spiritual, where we connect with our purpose and mission in life.

The same is true for organizations.

They must ensure they have the right focus on the physical aspect of the business (i.e., products, services, clients, etc.).

They must focus on the social/emotional by motivating and empowering their employees.

They must focus on the mental aspe