who fired the bullet Stephen Covey
the bullet Individual success comes from having an integrated, principles-based approach to solving personal and work problems, with an emphasis on building trust.
original work The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (Simon and Schuster, 1989).
people tend not to be on the fence when it comes to Stephen Covey and his Seven Habits of Highly Effective
People. Dee Acree, a long-time consultant to both private and public sectors, considers him overrated. "I don't see anything original there, just really good marketing. I can provide the same concepts to my clients for a lot less money," says the Albuquerque training provider.
Greg Zobell, however, has a different take. "I've looked at a variety of approaches and this is the clearest and the most helpful I've found," says the assistant administrator of Desert Samaritan Medical Center, Banner Health System, Mesa, Ariz.
One of the big draws for Zobell is Covey's emphasis on building trust, which ties back to the philosophies purported by Deming in his 14 points, the foundation of tqm. "Deming taught us that we need to drive out fear and build in trust, but he never told us how to do that," Zobell says. "Covey does. Seven Habits provides a framework for people to understand how to be trustworthy, which subsequently evolves into trusting relationships, which evolve into an effective organization."
The Seven Habits are business-speak for core values: personal vision, leadership and management; interpersonal leadership; empathetic communication; creative cooperation; and balanced self-renewal. "These are well-distilled, briefly expressed life messages," says consultant Geoffrey Bellman. Covey—and other good marketers—is able to make his ideas accessible to people, helping them see the relationship between the concepts and the purpose of the organization, and more importantly, the relationship between the concepts and their life purposes.
That approach doesn't fly in some parts of the country or in some parts of the public sector. Larry Fisher, assistant administrator of Human Resource Development Services, runs into both working for state government in Oklahoma—in the heart of the Bible Belt. "The problem is that some of these concepts begin teaching behaviors and values," Fisher says. "With Emotional Intelligence courses, you start talking about how people think, and some people start getting nervous. It's the same thing with Stephen Covey's material."
Fisher started offering Emotional Intelligence courses several months ago and hasn't received much feedback either way. For those interested in Covey's courses, he refers them to the U.S. military. "The U.S. government spent a lot of time teaching the Seven Habits courses, so there are many certified trainers in our area and elsewhere," Fisher explains. "They'll do the training at a reasonable cost."
At Desert Samaritan and the other Arizona-based facilities of Banner Health, the Seven Habits material is widely used but not mandated across the board. Some managers request that all of their people take the training, but participation is primarily voluntary. "At Desert Samaritan, about 10 percent of the workforce has been through the training, but that represents about 85 percent of management," says Zobell. He does, however, expect interest to keep growing. "Bottom line, it makes a difference in people's lives."