Stephen Covey, dynamo

By William Seidman I want to mark the passing of a giant in the world of self-help, management, and positive thinking, Stephen Covey, who died on July 16th from injuries sustained in a bike accident last April. I didn’t know him personally but I had the good fortune to meet with several people who ran his firm, Franklin Covey. We talked with them about using our program to teach his methods in corporations. Many corporations — at least 75% of the Fortune 500 — wanted their people to practice the 7 habits outlined in his huge seller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and contacted Franklin Covey for training programs. They were having a challenge, though. Companies were paying a lot of money, but the training wasn’t sticking. At least part of the reason was that most of the training materials and trainers were quite traditional and weren’t reflective of, or practicing, the 7 habits. There was good compatibility between our emphasis on positive images of a compelling purpose, our approach to positive practice supported by coaches, and the practices outlined by Covey. But it meant that they had to abandon traditional approaches to training, and they were not comfortable doing that. It raises a good question: Can you teach something as life-changing as 7 Habits using training methods that have proven to be anything but life-changing? And on a side note – 7 Habits was deeply changed for me by the creator of Dilbert, Scott Adams, who published the anthology, The Seven Habits of Highly Defective People, a reminder, even now, of the vast reach — and spoofability — of the incredible Covey brand.      ]]>

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