Stephen Covey died today at the age of 79 of complications from a bicycle accident that he suffered on April 19, 2012. Covey’s most notable accomplishment was the publication of the “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change,” first published in 1989.
I remember reading The 7 Habits in 1992, as it was recommended to me by my friend’s mother. At the early age of 12 or 13 I had taken a strong interest in personal and team development. Upon learning of Covey’s death, I took pause to revisit those 7 Habits, which are as follows:
Habit 1: Be Proactive
Habit 2: Begin with the end in Mind
Habit 3: Put first things First
Habit 4: Think Win-Win
Habit 5: Seek for to understand, then to be Understood
Habit 6: Synergize
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
Upon reflecting on The 7 Habits for disciplined self-mastery, interdependence, and self-renewal, I noticed how pervasive these principles are in my own coaching and consulting practice. They are the basis for a high-quality relationship with one’s self and with others, and they have positively influenced my life’s work of what can be simply described as helping people get the results that they desire.
I am grateful to have encountered Dr. Covey’s teachings at such an early age, and to have carried them with me–mostly unconsciously–for the last 20 years. On some level, I believe that they shaped my professional interest in the transformational power of human communication in organizations, and will continue to serve as a simple framework for individual and team performance in a world of increasing complexity, uncertainty, and chaos.
Thank you, Dr. Covey, for the wisdom that you shared with the world. May your hereafter be filled with powerful lessons in personal change.