Coveting Covey

Today, I had the opportunity to sit with about 100 other community leaders and listen to the words and wisdom of Dr. Stephen Covey at the University of Akron.

About 1/3 of his three-hour speaking session referenced some of his key concepts from former writings (i.e. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, First Things First, etc.). Another 1/3 was a confirmation towards collaborative leadership, the necessity of input, and team-oriented organizations. The final 1/3 was basically scattered & incoherent, which was probably caused by his brilliance and my stupidity.

I will take the next few posts to pass on a few of the key insights, as I think you will find them to be good reminders.

TESTING YOUR ORGANIZATION’S MISSION Try this activity out sometime:

Have everyone you are with close their eyes and have them point north. Have them open their eyes and notice where everyone is pointing.

Next, ask them to write down the number one priority of your organization on a piece of paper. Have everyone read their statements aloud and see if their statements reflect the dangerous diversity of when everyone previously pointed toward “their own north.” [A good exercise in finding out if everyone in your organization has understanding (& possibly ownership) of what your purpose/mission or “true north” is.]

Dr. Covey mentioned that we can sometimes be too quick to get to solutions without taking time to properly diagnose the problem. Without a proper diagnosis, you can’t apply the most accurate of solutions.

According to Stephen Covey the four chronic problems of an organization are:

  1. No clear purpose or visionambiguity, hidden agendas, political games, chaos
  2. Bureaucratic, misaligned systemsinterdepartmental rivalry, co-dependency, clear hypocrisies, resolvable misalignments
  3. Underutilized talent and potentialapathy, moonlighting, daydreaming, boredom, escapism, anger, fear
  4. Low trust (which sits at the center of these problems)…backbiting, in-fighting, victimism, defensiveness, not sharing information

Does your organization (church, parachurch, business, growth group, family, school, etc.) mirror any of these chronic illnesses? How so?


~ by Dave Smith on February 27, 2008.

4 Responses to “Coveting Covey”

  1. *cough* …. Jesus …. *cough* … discipleship … *cough*

  2. Thanks for the exercise, Dave. We’ll use that at our next staff meeting.

    As a leader, it’s easy to think everyone should know the right answer. Hopefully I won’t find myself naive.

    I’m so glad you’re blogging!

  3. Rich, if it wasn’t for you and sending me to WordPress so I didn’t have to be subjected to “The Unit” at your place, it would have never happened. So thank you! :>)

  4. […] So, to cap things off with the Covey seminar, in light of the 4 chronic problems within unhealthy organizations, the four imperative for leadership to change this are […]

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