What I Learned from Stephen Covey


About fifteen years ago, I had the great opportunity to travel to Sanford, Florida and get certified in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I was sent to get certified to come back and train the workshop in my company. It was an awe-inspiring, growth opportunity for me in so many ways!! If you want people to point out any mistake you ever make – facilitate something like the 7 Habits workshop. It raised the bar so high on the expectation of how I would react in any given situation that I started working at home about 50% of the time to sharpen my saw. It sounds funny to talk about it now, but the employees at the law firm I worked at would analyze my reaction to things in every situation after they attended this workshop. The work is powerful and I am still striving to do my best in the habits today. Stretch goals!

Some things I still find to be amazing about that experience is that a) the habits are still relevant in my life and b) it wasn’t anything new. Stephen Covey didn’t invent the 7 Habits, he merely studied human behaviors and principles. He crated the package, but all the information he covered was available long before he wrote the 7 Habits.

So, what did I learn from the experience? I learned that your vision and values create the framework, roadmap and compass for you to get where you are going. I learned that if you don’t take care of yourself and consider your needs, you won’t be able to help others, and I learned that the most important thing that I could do in my career was listen. I’ve taken this learning with me everywhere I’ve gone and I’m still working on getting better at it today.

I found that the real power from the workshop was not the information that was covered, but the questions that were asked. The reason the workshop was so powerful was because it asked you – What do you want to achieve in your life? What is the most important thing for you? What do you want to be remembered for? How do you spend your time? It was the power of imaging yourself in that light that handed the reins over from the facilitator to the participants. It wasn’t about the workshop, it was about you.

The Website

I’m not sure if you’ve ever gone through the process of creating a website or not, but it is a great opportunity to define what it is that you are, as well as what you are not. It has given me the opportunity to really look at how to present Positive Impact Force to the outside world. I think I would have had an easier time going through Monet’s paintings and finding one that captured the essence of this company. Finding words to explain something that is bigger than you have proved quite difficult.

I did create some art to help me in the process, but still, at the end of three long weeks, I summarized the company with a set of inquiries instead of statements. I realized that we’re not really a company that is offering specific services, we are a company that is offering inquiry. Our force is group of experts on related cultural topics, and our goal is to implement the best of what each of our individual clients can be. We are the reflection of our clients. Our inquiry process allows our clients to determine what their vision is and our force of talented individuals come together to help create that vision as a reality. Since I do not know the vision of the client, it is hard to define our services as a specific solution. We are more like walking on the path with you to create a positive impact with your vision.

Since my background is in learning and development, and I know we can offer many solutions for specific learning needs, it has been an interesting journey to transform from problem solver to inquirer. We study works like Conscious Capitalism and Everybody Matters and build those principles into the fabric of our work with clients who know that their businesses do and should have a positive impact on the communities that they serve.

I had a colleague ask – “How are you going to make them do it?” I thought long and hard about that question and I realized we’re not going to make them do it. Nobody is going to make them do it. Positive Impact Force wants to work with clients who want to do this work. His follow-up question was, “What type of client is the right client for you?” That response was easy, “We are looking for clients with great vision that believe that their people are important and want to invest in a strategy for sustainable growth over time.” He mumbled something like, “Good Luck”, and smiled with his big grin. I don’t think it will take luck, just a few compassionate CEOs with great vision.