Stephen Covey, Author and Mormon Teacher and How His Philosophy Influenced This Polygamous Family

Yesterday Stephen Covey, author and business leader died from injuries sustained in a bicycle accident. Covey became a household name when “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” was published in 1989. On bestseller lists for four years, it has sold in excess of 20 million copies in 40 languages and spawned a multimillion-dollar business empire that markets audiotapes, training seminars and organizing aids aimed at improving personal productivity and professional success.

His timing was perfect both for what culture was looking for at the time and what I was looking for. I was starting business school in 1989 and had become interested in business management and leadership principles. He addressed my desire to succeed through leadership and management.

I found his principles solidly aligned with my Mormon faith and will have to say his book is one of the most influential on my life. At the time I was looking for principles to lead my family and searching for things that would help me not only in leadership, but in relationships.

Covey summed up his philosophy in seven “unchanging principles” or habits that emphasize traits such as taking personal responsibility (“Be proactive”), having a road map or mission (“Begin with the end in mind”) and defining one’s priorities (“Put first things first”). All of these not only resonated to a young business student, but to a young men with two wives. I was looking for a mission statement of my own family for example, and together before we had even read his book we had created one for our family. So by the time I came across his book I found learning those principles have helped me build upon the foundations in my life both personally and professionally.

“Think Win/Win” for example became crucial as I had to navigate impossible choices such as which wife to take on a trip with me and which one to leave home with the kids. Similarly learning to focus on that which I have control of and that which I don’t helped me tremendously in my relationships. I quickly learned the only thing I have control of is myself.

His teachings were peppered with terms such as “synergy” and “paradigm shift,” but he also urged businesses to consider how employees feel. Overall his philosophy centered around principles that are about our consideration of others and they are principles that work.

By the time Valerie came ready to come into our family, I had purchased his 7 Habits for Highly Effective Families. I shared that book with her and we re-created a mission statement as we blended hers and my family together into one unbreakable bond.

I will ever be grateful for his contribution to the world and particularly to me. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, and I highly recommend anyone serious in improving their lives to read his books as you won’t be disappointed.

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2 Responses to Stephen Covey, Author and Mormon Teacher and How His Philosophy Influenced This Polygamous Family

  1. PaweĊ‚ Szulik says:

    Maybe it is only loosely connected with the topic, but still I want to share it.

    I’ve read some books, which have tremendous influence in my life, but most people don’t even know about the existence of those books. They are very old, they were “persecuted” by many people. The example is “Thelyphthora” by Martin Madan (a book advocating polygamy from the christian perspective). Even at the time when author was still alive, the book was read only by a few people. He probably thought that he wrote it in vain. But still – this book has a strong impact in my life, so it is not in vain.

    What I want to say is that it is always worth to share your thoughts with others. You maybe think sometimes that your thoughts don’t mean anything to anyone, but I can say that way of thinking is wrong.

    Stephen Covey didn’t even know you and he didn’t know how big a help was his book to you. And you influence many people. You live his principles, teach your children to do it and so you pass a blessing of wisdom to other people. What’d happen if he didn’t share his wisdom?

    I encourage you Joe, Alina, Vicky and Valerie to write more and more, to share the wisdom you have. Why? Because (you know it or not) I believe many many people need it. You turned my life upside down by your simple message and your example.

  2. Tebogo says:

    I am greatful that I didn’t only read Steven Coveys books but also had
    an opportunity to meet him in one of our corporate leadership workshops organized by ABSA Burclays Bank of which then I was still an employee. The book gave me a more clear if not a better view and many other tools on how to manage myself and on how to be a business leader of note. The “begin with end in mind” principle helped me to shape up my vision in life and to also live a purpose driven life.

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