Our industry lost a great authoritarian on leadership, management, business and enriched life principles on July 16, 2012. Stephen R. Covey, Founder of the Covey Leadership Center passed away at the age of 79.
When Covey’s book First Things First came out with co-authors A. Roger Merrill and Rebecca R. Merrill, USA Today billed Covey as the hottest self-improvement consultant to hit United States business since Dale Carnegie.
Using the wisdom and the insight of what made The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, First Things First empowered readers to define what is truly important to accomplish worthwhile goals and lead rich, rewarding, and balanced lives. Here are some of the powerful, insightful, and actionable ideas that made a great impact on me personally.
- “Our struggle to put things first can be characterized by the contrast between two powerful tools that direct us: the clock and the compass. The clock represents our commitments, appointments, goals, and activities – what we do with and how we manage our time. The compass represents our vision, values, principles, mission, conscience, direction – what we feel is important and how we lead our lives. The struggle comes when we sense a gap between the clock and the compass – when what we do doesn’t contribute to what is most important in our lives.”
- “Management works within the paradigm. Leadership creates new paradigms. Management works within the system. Leadership works on the system. You manage things but you lead people."
- “The power to create quality of life is within us–in our ability to develop and use our own inner compass so that we can act with integrity in the moment of choice–whether that moment is spent planning the week, handling a crisis, responding to our conscience, building a relationship, working with an irate client, or taking a walk. To be effective, a tool most be aligned with that reality and enhance the development and use of that inner compass.”
- “Seek first to understand then be understood.”
- “Anytime we think the problem is ‘out there,’ that thought is the problem. We disempowered ourselves. In other words, we give away our space–the space that allows us to choose a constructive response. We empower circumstances and the weaknesses of other people to control us. We put our energy into our Circle of Concern, into things over which we have no control.”
- ‘The best way to develop courage is to set a goal and achieve it, make a promise and keep it. No matter how small the goal or promise, this one act will begin to build our confidence that we can act with integrity in the moment of choice."
We are blessed that the voice and the wisdom of Stephen Covey will live on forever providing the opportunity to enlighten and enrich many people to come; however, we must take pause today to thank him for all that he has shared and the many positive examples he has set, and to share condolences with his family, coworkers and friends.
This article is written by our guest author and strategic business partner, Tammy A. S. Kohl. Kohl is President of Resource Associates Corporation. For over 30 years, RAC has specialized in business and management consulting, strategic planning, leadership development, executive coaching and youth leadership.