FranklinCovey Consultant Blogs | Todd Wangsgard | First Exposure
My first exposure to his landmark work, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, was life-changing. Common sense, organized, is how many have described the principles that Stephen packaged in such understandable terms. I knew, the first time I participated in the classroom experience, that I would need to become a facilitator and share those principles with whomever I could get to listen.
In 1997 I had the privilege of partnering with a number of Covey Leadership Center professionals, among them the dedicated, gracious, and talented Nancy Moore, now a colleague of mine who leads many initiatives within our Education Division. The company I worked for at the time hosted a number of beta-test classes for an early version of Covey Leadership Center’s coursework on trust. I was asked to teach these beta versions of the class. You can imagine my surprise when Nancy asked me to co-present with Dr. Covey at the sales kick-off of Building Trust at their corporate offices in Provo, Utah. Stephen’s spirit and character were bigger in person than I had imagined. He made me feel like I was the most important person in the room. He affirmed to his team of sales professionals the timeless principles of loyalty, transparency, and empathic understanding.
During Saturday’s funeral service, all 9 of his children shared stories and thoughts about their father that reinforced the public principles he preached. His oldest son, Stephen M. R. Covey, said it most plainly. “Dad was congruent, whole, complete.” He went on to emphasize that as great an author, speaker and consultant that he was in public, in private Stephen was even better. Dr. Covey’s best friend and brother, John Covey, gave us a glimpse into Stephen’s primary motivation in life – both personal and professional. Early in their professional lives Stephen once asked John, “What do you want to do with your career?” Understanding how Stephen thought, John turned the question back to his brother. Stephen’s response was three simple yet powerful words: “Release Human Potential.”
And throughout the service, memories of Stephen did just that. Every story, every thought, every snapshot of his great life and example evoked, on one hand, feelings of inadequacy, but more importantly it inspired feelings of resolve, commitment, and desire to be a better husband, father, and friend. I hereby commit to redefine the potential I am capable of releasing in the coming days, weeks, and months.
Yes, Stephen R. Covey will be missed. But the life, learning, love, and legacy he leaves behind will endure in the work we carry on at FranklinCovey and in the lives of those touched by his great work.
Thank you, Stephen!