Stephen Covey Transcript

Stephen M. R. Covey is the bestselling author of The Speed of Trust, which has been translated into 22 languages and sold over 2 million copies worldwide, according to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Smart Trust, a #1 Amazon bestseller, is co-authored by him.

Stephen offers a practitioner’s perspective to his work, having served as President and CEO of the Covey Leadership Center, where he raised shareholder value by 67 times and developed the company to become the world’s largest leadership development firm.

He is in the fourth generation of a family of writers named Stephen Covey, with their only difference being their middle names. His father, Stephen R. Covey, wrote the book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, which remains highly influential until this day.

Why does the Book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” Remain Influential Until Today?

The main reason is that this book refers primarily to the principles governing the habits of influential people and not their practices. The principles of leadership and how someone can be effective did not alter throughout the years as the qualities of human nature loom eternal in our psyches. Furthermore, Mr. Covey had been taught the seven habits of highly successful people during his upbringing from childhood to adulthood, unbeknownst to him.

He recalls that this time of his life was one of the most decisive to his career due to his upbringing by parents with the stature and worth of his father. He was present in many sessions and lectures of his father, and his reminiscences are quite vivid today.

The Fundamental Habit to Attain and Be Highly Effective

Mr. Covey’s father sought to sway his peers and students towards the following motto: “Seek first to understand and then be understood”. The mastering of this way of living and behaving can lead to the development of the empathy of a genuine leader. The truth is that most people struggle to develop such habits due to their insistence on telling stories of their volition in a conversation. If someone manages to attain the mindset of empathy, it conveys a powerful message about his leadership qualities.

Mr. Covey is a staunch believer that empathy leads to a better comprehension of the capabilities of your workforce. The majority of his father’s students shared the notion that their teams had more skills and ingenuity than the ones they took credit for having. They just had to compete within the intricacies of a bizarre world, where labor aims must be accomplished in specific ways with limited investments. Limited investments confer fewer tools to work within a world that constantly demands more.

Mr. Covey’s book “Trust and Inspire: How Truly Great Leaders Unleash Greatness in Others” examines how a leader can inspire his team members to unlock their true potential despite the severe difficulties they have to encounter.

Mr. Covey’s Inspiration for his Books and Career Path

Before entering his current highly successful career path, Mr. Covey indulged in several occupations, which are namely presented below:

i) Real Estate Development in Dallas, Texas

ii) Investment Banking on Wall Street

Between the former occupations, Mr. Covey acquired an MBA. After his studies, he faced the conundrum between retaining his former business endeavors and joining his father’s company. The unyielding spirit convinced him of his father and the values he had bestowed on him. These values are evident and were the repercussion of numerous family meetings where his father taught them to be responsible in their life. He delegated several tasks to his children to realize the importance of being accountable for a goal and employing all the necessary steps to accomplish it.

Mr. Covey explained that his father trust enabled him to believe more in his capabilities and skills. Therefore, he developed unparalleled confidence in taking care of numerous tasks throughout his professional life.


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The importance of distinguishing Leadership and Management

Mr. Covey highlights the fundamental difference between leadership and management and states that they are paramount in running a company or a team smoothly. Their essential difference lies in the following phrase, attributed to the honored guest: “The key principle is that you manage things and lead people. The danger comes when we start to manage people as if they were things”.

The point is that someone can be a highly accomplished manager by completing stupendous tasks but an ineffective leader by miscommunicating with his delegates. Therefore, an effective leader should direct his approach to establish humane connections with his personnel and maintain harmonious morale within the ranks of his team.

The last century has given us an unlimited amount of knowledge and practices that we could not possibly fathom even existed. This tremendous amount of information enabled us to achieve memorable and astonishing achievements in all facets of humanity. Surprisingly, a shift to an alternative approach in leadership has only recently begun.

This alternative approach is still in its initial steps. It entails a change from an authoritarian and faceless leadership model to an encouraging mode of administration, where the Head of the team facilitates his delegates to unleash their unwavering work spirit and locked potential. This exact change in leadership paradigm is the topic of the new book of Mr. Covey, “Trust and Inspire: How Truly Great Leaders Unleash Greatness in Others”.

Undoubtedly, though, the demanding prerequisites for success require the flawless function of the duality of managing things and leading people. Finding the ideal balance between these two different actions is one of the towering enigmas of our times.

Mr. Covey brought forth an interesting parallel in the discussion regarding the difference between managing things and leading people. Management involves the field of Economics, where scarcity of goods displays a predominant role in their diversification. In terms of leadership, Mr. Covey prefers to follow the Abundance Theory, where having someone to believe in your skills without second thoughts. This abundance mentality derives a relationship of trust, which serves as the prerequisite of confidence and accomplishment.

In wrapping up…

According to Mr. Covey, the three stewardships of leadership are Modeling, Trusting, and Inspiring. In the following paragraphs, we examine these three pillars of effective leadership.

Modeling: Mr. Covey suggests that humility and courage are the most fundamental values that a leader should model to his delegates. The manifestation of humility and courage concurrently enables the leader to exhibit his genuine and authentic self and be vulnerable when he should be. And always, a leader should be the first to display such emotions for his team to follow accordingly.

Trusting: Mr. Covey states that we must be trustworthy and trusting to have trust. In other words, we must emulate the family meetings with Mr. Covey’s father, where he entrusted them with cumbersome and essential tasks. Thus, he exhibited his belief in their abilities to conclude them successfully.

Inspiring: Inspiration is a whole new level of engagement with the company’s morale, and recent studies have shown that inspired personnel performed significantly higher achievements than their merely satisfied colleagues. Furthermore, Mr. Covey believes that inspiring other people is an attainable skill and product of nature or nurture. Acquiring such an ability would give you significant advantages in the competitive world of running a business. The more straightforward route to accomplish this feat is to start caring more for those around you and developing thus the modern fundamental of leadership, the precious empathy.

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The #1 challenge for organizations right now is how to attract and retain talent. Organizations are stuck in old ways of thinking about work and they are struggling! In my new PDF, I outline 7 ways the workforce is changing and what you and your organization need to do to adapt. The Great Resignation is The Great Opportunity if you are willing to take action! Click here to download the PDF.