National Leader of the Month for June 2007
Dr. Stephen R. Covey
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Stephen Covey's Story
Envision the ideal father. This father sets the standard for his family. He
instills values, establishes a vision, and leads by modeling the behavior he
wants to see in the next generation. With his influence, the father can change
Stephen Covey is that remarkable father and so much more.
He speaks with great pride of his 9 children and 47 grandchildren and teaches people about the importance of forming a family mission statement. He reports that all his family members wear blue bands on their right hands to remind them of their mission: “We serve God by serving others.” His dream is that his family will achieve significance--not success. He sees this significance coming from positively changing the world through dedication to serving other families. His parenthood is so well respected that he received the Fatherhood Award from the National Fatherhood Initiative.
Dr. Covey speaks with admiration about single mothers, nurses, teachers, and others who are vital to the development of strong families. He says, “The most important institution is the family and no other success can compensate for failure in the home.” He adds that, “The most important work we will ever do is in the four walls of our own home.” Dr. Covey talks about the significance of recognizing that it is principles—and not social values—that we should use to govern our choices and decisions.
Stephen Covey’s aspirations extend well beyond the health and well being of his own family. He talks about his goal to impact billions of people: not hundreds of thousands, not millions, but billions. He speaks with passion about the principle-centered leadership he advocates and says that the reason you know this methodology works is that it is effective across the world, regardless of culture or religion. He is pleased that his organization has now trained over 50,000 teachers in his methodology.
For the scope and positive influence that this father has passed on to the world--and the legacy that will result--Stephen R. Covey is the national leader of the month for June 2007.
Stephen Covey & Leadership
Author, Speaker, Teacher, co-founder of FranklinCovey
Bio: married to Sandra with 9 children and 47 grandchildren; BS in business administration from the University of Utah; MBA from Harvard University; doctorate from Brigham Young University; resides in Provo, Utah; author of numerous books (with over 25 million copies in print), including the bestsellers The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, First Things First, and The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness; birthday: October 24
Favorite quote: One of my favorite quotes is [from] Abraham Maslow who said, “He who is good with a hammer tends to think that everything is a nail.”
Favorite books: A Guide for the Perplexed by E.F. Schumacher. The reason why is [that] it discussed the four levels of being. [For example], the car I’m driving in is mineral. Then, I look outside, and I see trees: That is mineral plus life. And then I look at animals: That is mineral plus life plus consciousness. Then I see a person: That is mineral plus life plus consciousness plus self-awareness. [This] means people can reinvent themselves because they can recoil upon their consciousness. They are not a product of the past, or of their present environment, or of someone else’s treatment of them. They are not even a product of their thoughts or of their feelings because they can think about those things, and they have the power to choose their response to all of those things. What about your own books? Can you talk a little bit about them? I guess the one that has had the greatest influence that I really poured myself into is the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Then I wrote [The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families] for families, and also I have sons that have written books. [All] three of us just came forth with a book this last year. One of my son’s books was called The Speed of Trust. Another one of my son’s books was for teenagers called The Six Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make. My book was a book (with Reader’s Digest as a partner) called Everyday Greatness. And the books in total...have sold about 25 million copies. The book on time management is called First Things First. [In the field of time management], it is the number one hardcover of all time. The book on the family, [The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families], is the number one family book in hardcover of all time.
Books recommended for aspiring leaders: Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. I talked to Viktor Frankl just before he passed away. He was over in Austria in the emergency room. He was blind, and his wife was reading to him four or five hours per day, and I was expressing my gratitude to him for his life’s work and the contributions he’d made. We had known each other in many situations before. He said, ‘Stephen, you talk to me as if I am checking out of life. I’ve got two more projects I’m finishing up.’
I have a book I’m writing now called Live Life in Crescendo. The basic idea is that the most important work we will ever do is always ahead of us. I’m also working on five other books right now. One [book is written] for attorneys [and is titled], Blessed Are the Peacemakers. [Another book is] on how to fight crime and terrorism. [It is] called Partnering to Prevent Crime and Terrorism. Where [the methods described in the book are] used, crime goes down 80%. 80%. And recidivism is only 5%, meaning, [of] those who are convicted, only 5% go back [to committing crimes]. [Recidivism] is normally like 40%. I have another [book] on bringing character education to primary and secondary schools…I don’t know if you saw that video in The 8th Habit about the A.B. Combs School, but The 8th Habit …has one DVD video for every chapter [of the book]. One of those chapters shows the A.B. Combs School. They brought the Seven Habits material into the [A.B. Combs] School, and in a period of three-and-a-half years, on national tests, these foreign students--where English is not even the primary language--went from [scoring at a success rate of] 62 percentile to [a success rate of] 98 percentile. [That school] was just designated as the #1 magnet school in the whole country last year. We have taken that model now to many, many other schools, so this book will report on what has happened to academic performance because of focusing on character development of [young] children and also of secondary school children. Another book is on how universities and colleges can become a convenient source to bring about a civil society inside communities. Then I am also working on a book for students that would be on the principles of management. So I’ve got six book projects I’m working on.
Between your book writing and your travel schedule, do you ever sleep? Maybe you should write a book on how to get through life with no sleep. The way I do it is long-range planning and setting up research teams. I have a book outline that the research teams gather material on, and then I go out and teach the material at these different locations. We record my teaching and then edit [the teaching], and then that is what becomes the book. In that way, you test the material to make sure that it really works with the audiences. Instead of just sitting down in some kind of cloistered environment and writing, I am teaching constantly. I record my teaching, and I walk around the audience, and take questions, and find out what the problems are. It’s a good way to write a book because you know the material deals with real life and also with universal and timeless principles. [Recently], I taught [the principles] from the Koran over in Jordan and Dubai. I also can teach the same material from Buddhism and from Islam and from Hinduism: [I teach from] all the six major world religions. How did you get so versed in all these religions? We have our company that is in 160 different countries. Most of our FranklinCovey [employees] have relationships with people who have translated the material into different cultures and different religions. They give me a synopsis, and I learn the material, so I can teach it when I go to their countries. I also find that by doing that you get your translations correct culturally because that is where translations usually go awry. It is not with the content or the language [where translations are lost], it is with the culture. I also find that when you teach in different countries, you focus on universal principles, and then they come up with practices that reflect the unique culture of their own country.
Current personal passion: My current personal passion is this book: Live Life in Crescendo. Another current passion is to train heads of state. Most of the heads of state have read the Seven Habits. Usually, [FranklinCovey’s] own top people know some of the top people in the government, and they work out [the logistics of the training sessions], so that is how I have been able to train 22 heads of state in the last few years. [I have been able to train] them not just for a short period of time but for several hours. I just finished traveling through all Central America and trained 8 heads of state down there. Then the President of Honduras had me come back and train everyone in the government--600 people. What a wonderful way to impact the world in a positive way. I think that these new books that I am writing—[that] are all based on research before and after [implementing the ideas we advocate]—will get the attention of the media and can literally influence billions of people—not just hundreds of thousands or millions. When you show how you can get rid of 80% of the crime, can you imagine the media attention to that? Also, [it is certainly influential when you show] how to get rid of poverty. [An example is] Muhammad Yunus who just got the Nobel Peace Prize through his micro-credit leadership [program]. He has gotten 500 million people out of poverty in the last ten years. That gets the attention of these heads of state, particularly in the developing world. You can see why I am turned on by my mission to take this principle-centered material throughout the world.
Dream: My dream focuses more on my family: on having them become a family of significance where they are all turned on by the mission of changing the world…The whole purpose is to serve other people, and that is the best way to serve God. The children and the grandchildren are growing up with that vision. It is not about me and mine; it is about thee and thine.
Places in the world you most like to visit: For a vacation, I most like to visit Hawaii. For helping people that really appreciate it enormously, I enjoy Central and South America and also Asia. I am also getting very involved in Eastern Europe now, and I have just gone through Hungary, Russia, Romania, and all of the Republics of the former Soviet Union. They love it because they feel like they can leapfrog the Industrial Age into the Information/Knowledge Worker Age. I show illustrations of where that has been done because most of [those countries] are not highly industrialized, but if they will invest in their people, they can move into this Knowledge Worker Age. I think that is one of the reasons why they love [gaining knowledge], and they are so appreciative that it is very satisfying to have people that appreciate it that much.
Experiences vital to attaining your current level of insight: I had two significant events in my youth. One was my hips, so I had to go on crutches for several years. That [experience] turned me from athletics to academics. So I became more of a student and a teacher rather than an athlete even though I loved athletics and my kids do, too. The second one was [when] I did a volunteer service for two years to just serve other people. My leader saw in me the potential to train other leaders. I didn’t see that in me at all because I was supposed to go into a family business that was very successful. It was in gas and oil, hotels, motels, and real estate. I was supposed to kind of be the heir apparent. But this gentleman affirmed my ability to train leaders and asked me to do so in his organization, and I was frightened. I didn’t think that that was where my talents lie, but I did it and found it to be so satisfying...[When it was time for me to take over the business], I basically said to him I would rather be a teacher and a trainer of leaders. And he even said to me, “You know, I never found my voice in business either.” He was more involved in developing visitor centers that would show how all truth is encompassed in one great whole. So that’s where his voice was, and people didn’t even know it until he died. That’s my father. He influenced visitor centers all over the world. So I found my voice in teaching and training leaders. Eventually, I set up my own business, called FranklinCovey, and now we are into 160 countries, teaching this material. So it has been a very fulfilling thing to have had those two experiences that shaped and defined the rest of my life.
Advice to aspiring leaders: My advice is that you should live by principles and that integrity is the foundation of true leadership. The more you live by principles and [display] integrity, then [the more that] people trust you. When people trust you, you have moral authority and you don’t have to have position power. It is like Gandhi: [He] had moral authority and became the founder of the largest democracy in the world: India. He never was elected and never was appointed. I just had a great visit with Nelson Mandela. He got his moral authority in prison. That had to have been a pleasure to visit with [Nelson Mandela]. It was really an inspiration to visit with him. I asked him, “How did [you] come to overcome [your] bitterness to [your] jailers because they treated [you] with such indignity and so much belittlement and torture?” He said he began to realize [that] they too were victims of the Apartheid Era. That’s why when he became the president of the new South Africa, he appointed Bishop Tutu as chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. [He did this] so that they could bring together the victims and the victimizers of the Apartheid Era, and they processed their experiences until they received reconciliation and forgiveness toward each other…We gave our principle-centered leadership award to Colin Powell, and [Colin Powell] said one of the most electrifying experiences of his life was to go to [Nelson Mandela’s] inauguration and see [President Mandela] come down the center aisle. On the left-hand side, in the front row, were his loved ones. On the right-hand side, in the front row, were his jailers. And [President Mandela] bowed to them and said, “Good morning gentlemen.” Then he brought the ANC choir to sign the African Anthem and the African Choir to sing the ANC Anthem. [Nelson Mandela] became a tremendous source of reconciliation and forgiveness. Nelson Mandela is such an amazing person. He truly is very inspiring. [His story] taught me that moral authority is really not based on position at all. In fact, people who have position [authority] and no moral authority will eventually lose that authority like Hitler did.
Most admired leaders: One of them is Nelson Mandela. Another of them would be Gandhi. Another one would be [Gordon B. Hinckley], the president of my church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) because he began his most significant work when he was 85 years old. What he has accomplished in the last 12 years is astounding. [His example] is an illustration that I am going to use in this book Live Life in Crescendo. I will also use a lot of other people who are religious leaders from other religious faiths and people who have decided not to retire because they recognize so much pain out there, and they want to contribute and make a difference. I also admire single mothers and nurses and teachers and people who continue to make a difference, particularly in developing strong families.
Metaphor, story, or analogy for leadership: I would use a tree. I would look at the roots of the tree for the example that merits the trust of a person. Then, the trunk of the tree represents the mentoring and the modeling, so that you build strong relationships with the people that you live with and work among. The large branches of the tree would represent how you organize the structures and systems to support the mission, purpose, and those principles. Because most people don’t institutionalize the principles, [their work does not continue] when they die or when their charismatic qualities go. The key is to leave a legacy, so that your successors do better than you: They sit on your shoulders, and they make greater contributions than you have made. That’s the concept of institutionalizing--the large branches of the tree. Then the small branches that produce the leaves and the fruit of the tree [are] where you teach principles. When people learn those principles and then they obey them, they establish their own trees, so that this thing goes on and on and on. [This tree] is a winning organism, and it is a great metaphor. I teach it all the time, particularly to families because many, many families don’t really think in terms of developing a family mission statement and then institutionalizing the principles. When children see the roots, they see someone who has [provided] a good example, and they trust that person. Then if [children] experience that they are loved, valued, affirmed and appreciated, they come to value themselves. Then, when they see that the thing becomes institutionalized, they come to value the family structure. When they live by the principles that you teach them, they come to value not only the principles but to trust themselves. [I] use the quote, “If you give a man a fish you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” When I train heads of state, I always ask them the question, “What is your mission and the principles [that] you offer it on?” And then I ask the question, “Do you institutionalize those [values]?” That [question] always shakes them up a little. I was with the president of Colombia, and he said that he wanted to make his companies safe from the drug lords and the insurgencies. I said, “What are you doing to institutionalize this, so it is not dependent on your popularity?” He only was in [office] for four years, and he only had eight months [remaining on his term of office], so I said to him, “What don’t you change the constitution? It will only take a two-thirds vote.” And, they did [change the constitution]. Now, he has another four years [in office]. [The initiative that he is now] working on is institutionalizing. You don’t want to make people dependent upon you and impressed by you, you want them to be impressed by the quality of these principles so that they will leave a legacy that goes beyond themselves.
In addition to integrity, what traits are most important in a leader? I would say love. [It is vital that leaders] truly love the people and love the cause that they are in to serve those people. Another would be to develop this institutionalized moral authority so that the principles are built into the systems in the way you recruit, train, select, and compensate. Another one [is to] develop a culture of moral authority so that you not only have institutionalized it, but it becomes enculturated so that the mores and norms of the society support the principles. For instance, in this book on how you get 80% less crime, the key is that you change the mores and norms of the culture so that it is cool to be good. You establish a partnership with businesses and have the police give positive tickets to people, instead of negative tickets only. In other words, [the police] find young people who serve others and continue to report the bad guys, and you give the positive tickets. Then, the businesses in partnership reward them with entertainment packages, with free food, with free clothing, and things of this nature so that the parents, the neighborhoods, the businesses, the priests, the children, the teenagers—everyone—wants to do good. They turn in the bad guys because you have enculturated the mores and norms [and made] it cool to be good. This requires a new mindset, a new skill set, and a new tool kit, and this requires training people in those three things.
What can organizations do that either encourages or stifles leaders? Organizations [are] where most of the world’s work gets done. The key to leadership in an organization is to affirm people’s worth and potential so clearly [that] they are inspired to see it in themselves. When they find their voice this way, and you set up a complimentary team—meaning you build on strengths and organize to make weaknesses irrelevant—what happens is that you can get rid of bureaucracy and [the] rules and regulations that take the place of human creativity. This is one of the reasons why Toyota is eating Detroit’s lunch. Because [Toyota] works on a different philosophy of educating the people and building great trust with their suppliers and with all of their stakeholders; [therefore], everyone has more economic literacy about what is going on in the business, and they take responsibility. [Employees] feel like they are part owners of that business. Have you ever had a situation where you absolutely loved your work, and you were good at it? What kind of supervision did you require? None. This whole concept of supervision is like an artificial leg, a prosthesis. It takes the place of the real thing because you haven’t got people in the right places: People haven’t found their voice. If you help people find their voice, they don’t need to be supervised. You just have to clear the path for them, get out of the way, and let them carry on the same traditions of inspiring others to find their voices. What I’m sharing now is the heart and soul of the 8th Habit book. The Seven Habits deal with the personal and the interpersonal leadership. The 8th Habit deals with organizational leadership, so you deal with institutionalizing and enculturating these principles.
Where and what are the best training programs out there for leaders? The military and also the organizations that are at the cutting edge of their industries like Toyota and like Ritz-Carlton Hotels (which is part of Marriott). You find them everywhere, and like great schools and great hospitals in healthcare, they’ve learned how to create the complimentary team. They’ve moved away from the industrial model of top-down, hierarchical, “position’ being the key to leadership. [They are not] then carrot-and-sticking people: the great jackass theory of human motivation. [That outdated method of leadership is] what most organizations are geared to. [Ineffective organizations] give performance appraisals by using the sandwich technique: a few nice words is the top part of the sandwich; then they put in the knife and twist it a little, called areas for improvement; and then [offer] a few nice words to send them on their way. That’s the Industrial Age model, and it’s becoming increasingly obsolete. The key is for the culture to take responsibility for results: where everyone is accountable to everybody and people that violate these cultural values and norms are out of sync. [Those people who violate the values] are incongruent with what is going on. [Consequently], the people who are unprincipled or step on other people can not survive. That’s why the financial accounting system of the Industrial Age is so flawed. It calls people an expense and calls things like the technology you and I are using right now an asset. I mean talk about sick. Talk about one big major ‘duh.’ Today, 80% of the value added to goods and services comes from intellectual and social capital. Social capital is trust. Twenty years ago, 80% of the value added to goods and services came from manual work and from equipment. That is what produced the accounting system which calls people an expense and things an asset. That’s why I teach three forms of information: financial accounting, XQ (XQ stands for the ability of the culture to execute the priorities of the organization), and the 360-degree assessment of your customers, your suppliers, and all your business partners (as to whether or not they will recommend you or not). Are [your customers, suppliers, and partners] loyal--fiercely loyal--in recommending [you]? Are they frontline salespeople who are promoting you? We have information systems in those three areas. When [organizations] have all three, the lower-math financial accounting is seen in the larger context of the higher-math and that is what [is needed] to achieve financial success. What do all of your stakeholders, particularly your customers, suppliers, and your own people say about you? When you have both lower math and higher math together, you have the whole package because every business person knows you can never have success financially if you don’t succeed in the marketplace. You can never succeed in the marketplace if you don’t succeed in the workplace. It’s a social ecology...By social ecology, I mean where everything is connected to everything else.
Is one of those three—financial accounting, XQ, and the 360-degree assessment—lacking, or conversely, is one being accomplished better than the others in America? Almost all organizations do only financial accounting. Very few organizations really [implement] this loyalty toward all of your stakeholders—toward you, toward your company. Some of them do it, and they call it a balanced scoreboard. This is taking off. It’s catching up, but very, very, very few do XQ, and [XQ is] the ability to find out “Does your culture deliver on its promise? Does your culture achieve its priorities?” You can get XQ under the 8th Habit.com. You can learn about that, and that is a tremendous tool. I have never seen anything to compare to it, but the key is to have all three because it is a social ecology. If you don’t have all three, you’re going to be driven by short-term, quarterly, bottom-line numbers. And then it comes after the fact, and people will point their finger at each other. [Conversely], XQ and the 360-degree information about whether your stakeholders promote you is “before the fact.” That’s the cause, not the system. [When] you have both causal information and after-the-fact symptom information, you have the whole package.
When were the limits of your leadership challenged or
tested, and how did you respond to that? It came when we had the merger
between Covey Leadership Center and Franklin Quest because we had two altogether
different cultures. It took us several years to practice what I am teaching
right now...[Now], the XQ scores [at FranklinCovey] are the highest scores of
any large organization we have ever dealt with, which means [that] we are
practicing what we teach. But there were a few years where the cultural merger
had not taken place. That was the hardest time of our company’s history.
You had mentioned to me that the United States military is your biggest customer. That is a good sign. It is a good sign, but it is still in its infancy. Still, if you study the leadership training given in the military, it focuses on character and competence and the importance of trust and moral authority. And you don’t find that in most leadership programs in business. [In the business programs], the focus is not so much on character. It is more on competency.
Ken Blanchard had said to me that he will take [people with] character over competence any day because you can train and teach that competence, and it is a little trickier to train that character if that isn’t present in someone. That is so true. Ken and I are good friends: We do a lot of work together, and we are on the same page about that. You hire the character and train the competence.
What is your story? We trained the president of Mexico, President Fox, when he was first installed, and we had everyone for two full days. My wife was also involved with me, and she trained all of those thousands in how to build strong, exemplary families. Then I trained the material I am talking to you about to President Fox [and] all of his people. Then [President Fox] had his people--after 72 years of one-party control--go around the country and put their arms in the square in front of national television, declaring their assets [at the time] and then after the six years [that] they were in [office]. We are now trying to set it up to train the new president in Mexico in the same way. The 9/11 events took the main issue of open borders of President Fox off the radar screen. Now, we have all these problems [in the United States] with immigration. That was a tremendous experience and story that I will never forget.
I enjoy your thoughts on nature. Can you talk a little about them? I love being by nature because I think nature is a perfect metaphor for principles. You can’t violate nature. You have to live by the laws of gravity. You have to live by the law of the harvest. Most people cram their way through school—they violate nature—and they end up feeling like they neglected the most important foundation of their lives. That’s why when I got my doctorate, I went back and got the equivalent of an undergraduate degree because I crammed my way through college. And that’s contrary to nature: That’s contrary to the law of the harvest. [Ultimately], it took me eight years to get my doctorate because I wanted to get another undergraduate degree, so I really paid the price.
At what age did you arrive at this level of enlightenment? Was that a work in progress, or did the light come on one day? I think that the Seven Habits taught me that public victories always come from private victories. In other words, you have got to have it in your character first, before you develop the skills. The 8th Habit was a period of tremendous enlightenment because that is where I learned about institutional moral authority and cultural moral authority. Now, since I’ve been training heads of state and CEO’s and other leaders all over the world, it has given me so much background material and so many stories that it all seems to be coming together like never before. I really think it is like a social ecology, and I am just amazed at how everything is connected to everything else. We’re highly interdependent. We’ve produced over 50 films that I can use at any time to teach what I am teaching you right now. These are films that really grab people. They are powerful and it has taken millions and millions of dollars to develop these films. But they are very, very powerful and if you see The 8th Habit book, you’ll see some of those films. There is one [film] for every chapter in that book. When I [write] this textbook on the principles of management, I’ll have access to over 55 films, and it will blow the [students’] minds because they will see how everything is connected to everything else.
When you talk about the interconnectedness [of things], that conjures the thought of the Native Americans? Have you studied some [Native American] culture and tradition? Absolutely. I am totally fascinated by Indian culture. In fact, our vacation home is on the very spot where Chief Joseph fought the American army that came after him once he left the reservation. In The 8th Habit book, read the one chapter called “Blending Voices.” In there, I talk about the Indian talking stick and how it was taught to the founding fathers of [the United States]. [The chapter describes] how [the Indian talking stick] influenced what took place in Philadelphia in the formation of what I believe to be a God-inspired constitution. [The Constitution of the United States] is the oldest written constitution in the world; [it is] the model for 95% of every other constitution that has come since that time. [I used] the Indian talking stick…at a leadership summit of Jews, Christians, and Muslims in helping our country develop a closer relationship to the entire world Arab community. [At the summit], I taught this Indian talking stick idea from Native American culture. No one spoke for three days without the Indian talking stick in front of them. [The concept] basically means that the person who is speaking needs to feel understood before they pass the Indian talking stick. What happens is it transforms the energy of the group from negative to positive, from defensive to creative, and it produces third alternative solutions that are better than what anyone initially proposed. That’s what the American Constitution is: It is a third alternative solution. I attribute [the Constitution] in part to the Native American culture and the Indian talking stick…I’m a great believer in Native American Indian culture. I also train Indian chiefs all the time. But I say to them, “You don’t need me because I can find what I am teaching in your own culture.” They say, “No, we do [need you] because we don’t even believe our own culture, and we want a second witness.” I love training Indian chiefs: I do it all the time. That is where I got the Indian talking stick given to me: after training Indian chiefs that run Indian nations in North America. They gave me this beautiful Indian talking stick, and it has my name on the back side. They called me Bald Eagle. Under that [inscription] it says, “Wild Man” because of all the fun things I did when I was training them. I had them down in Arizona for three days. I have also trained the religious leaders of most churches because I teach them the principles that are universal from the Old and New Testament [in the Bible]. I also have taught the education leaders in Dubai over in the Emirate Republics in the Middle East. What did you think of Dubai? I have never seen a culture so explosive as Dubai. It is just amazing to see what they are producing. The architect is the brother of the king of the Emirates. Brilliant. Begin with the End in Mind: That is Habit 2. And this new little book called The Secret You Know: All that [book] is Habit 2.
Earlier, you mentioned to me some important leaders that it would be great to talk to. I wish you could talk to Viktor Frankl, but he passed away. I spoke with Kevin Hall about a year ago, and he mentioned the Statue of Responsibility Project. [The Statue of Responsibility] is a vision of Viktor Frankl. It is a tremendous project. How is the project coming along? It is still in the spiritual creation stage, and then they are going to move to fundraising. But no major project that large has ever gone up without some public funds. It would be like [a] bookend to the Statue of Liberty. It would also have a visitor center that would contain other countries’ cultural definition of responsibility. It would be fascinating. I have spoken about that a lot. [Do you remember] one of the books that I talked to you about that [Frankl] was finishing up [when he passed away]? He did that [book] with a biographer, and the name of that book is When Life Calls Out to Us. [People] have four intelligences. We have our IQ, that is our mind; we have our EQ, that is our emotional intelligence that deals with social intelligence (our heart and self awareness); we have our PQ, our physical intelligence, which deals with the 30 billion cells that run our body; then we have spiritual intelligence, which is where we find our meaning and our integrity. I believe that the highest manifestation of spiritual intelligence lies within our conscience and that everyone has a conscience. When conscience drives the other three intelligences—drives vision, which is the highest manifestation of IQ, [drives] discipline, which is the highest manifestation of physical intelligence, [drives] passion, which is the highest manifestation of emotional intelligence—it changes the world for the good. [It is vital that conscience drives vision, discipline, and passion.] Hitler had the first three but no conscience. Gandhi had conscience, and that is why [his movement] endured and why they established a constitution. But it took formal authority to establish a constitution. Gandhi didn’t have that. He had moral authority, and it took [Jawaharlal] Nehru, who followed him, to establish the constitution. That’s [also] why Nelson Mandela had to establish a constitution once he was put in as president.
How prevalent is integrity in the people you are meeting around the world? I think everyone claims it, and everyone teaches it, and everyone knows how important it is, but I would say relatively few live it when push comes to shove. You’ll find where you have cultural moral authority, you’ll find high integrity. You’ll also find great financial results, high quality, high trust, and a culture of innovation. Where you don’t have a culture of innovation and empowerment, you won’t have integrity. You’ll have some industries that are protected that have not yet moved into the Knowledge-Worker Age where you are going to see some success without integrity, but if you have world-class competition, you won’t have [success], if you don’t have integrity. Can you train this at all? Can you train integrity? Yes, you can because if you set up a situation of cultural moral authority, people who lack integrity will be trained in it. Since I was with Ritz-Carlton, I asked a woman who is in human resources, “Has this company impacted your personal life?” She said, “It has totally changed my life.” I said, “How so?” She responded, “I have never seen people live this way and serve this way.” I said, “Has it impacted your family life?” She said, “Absolutely.” I said, “Give me an illustration.” She said, “Whenever I do things for my children, I always say to them, ‘It is my pleasure.’ I treat my children like we try to treat our customers. We always go the second mile, and I have taught my children to do the same thing.”
For More About Stephen Covey
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