In memory of Stephen Covey (October 24, 1932 – July 16, 2012)

July 23, 2012

Stephen Covey touched the lives of innumerable leaders through his work and writings. His classic Seven Habits of Effective People remains a much read and acted upon book

Stephen Covey died from complications following a bicycling accident sustained some months earlier [in April 2012].

His [1989] book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, sold more than 20 million copies. In it, he develops his ethical theories into a set of habits which can ead people from dependence, through independence to interdependence.

He also wrote three other best-sellers: First Things First; Principle-Centered Leadership; and The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness.

Education

Professor Covey was educated in business at the University of Utah, took an MBA from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Religious Education (DRE) from Brigham Young University. His work stemmed from his strong religious beliefs as a Mormon. He was a voice within the movement regarding leadership as an ethical responsibility, writing of the 21st century leader as service oriented:

We need to break away from the Industrial-Age psychology
that labels people as expenses and cell phones as assets.
Jobs should cater to our interests.
Instead of telling people what they’re hired to do,
we should ask them what they love to do.
Then create a marriage between that passion and your needs.

Social controversies

His foundation has had to deal with controversial social issues, in view of Mr Covey’s opposition to same-sex marriage. His campaigning included fundraising for Save Traditional Marriage 98 (STM98), a political action committee seeking a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages.

His work touches the beliefs of many people who do not share his religious affiliation. On a personal note, I find that even today, students from around the world on business courses regularly nominate “The Seven Habits” as the book on leadership that has influenced them the most.