May 2005 Issue --> Cover Story Article
Dr. Stephen R. Covey - Leading People From Effectiveness to Greatness
By: Chris Attwood and Jack Canfield


Janet Attwood: Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Passions of Real Life Legends, sponsored by Healthy, Wealthy nWise magazine. My name is Janet Attwood and I’m the author of The Passion Test.
Tonight I’m honored to have my dear friend and colleague, Jack Canfield, as our co-host.
Jack Canfield: It’s my pleasure to be here. Thank you very much. I love you guys and I really appreciate what you’re all trying to accomplish in the world and I know you’re doing passionate work.
Janet Attwood: Thank you.
Jack Canfield: I’m thrilled this evening to introduce to all of you on this call tonight’s guest, who is one of the great thinkers and influencers of our time. In 1996, Dr. Stephen R. Covey was recognized as one of Time magazine's 25 most influential Americans and one of Sales and Marketing Management's top 25 power brokers.
He is the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which has sold over 15 million copies in 38 countries. In 2002, Forbes magazine named this book one of the top 10 most influential management books ever.
Dr. Covey’s latest book, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness, is required reading for all of you listeners.
Stephen, it’s a great pleasure and honor to have you with us this evening. Thank you for joining us.
Stephen Covey: Thank you, Jack. I’m really excited by it.
Jack Canfield: Today, we’re going to be talking about your new book, and in it, you refer to passion as one of the “four intelligences” of the 8th Habit. Will you please explain what these intelligences are and what their significance is for our readers?
Stephen Covey: Well, most people think that intelligence basically is IQ, in other words, of the mind. But research has demonstrated for many, many years that there are other forms of intelligence. For instance, the body itself, 70 trillion cells right now are digesting people’s food, fighting disease and doing all kinds of other things, and we’re not even consciously thinking about it.
Even doctors know that they don’t heal, it’s the body that heals. The doctors will facilitate or try to remove obstacles, but basically the healing process is done by the body and the intelligence inside the body. It is an absolutely brilliant machine.
We all know about IQ, which stands for the mind, where it deals with the power to analyze, to reason, to use logic, to use creativity and so forth. EQ, before 1980, was called “Brain Dominance Theory.”
So the left side was more the IQ side, the rational, logical mind, and the right side was more what is called today “emotional intelligence,” dealing with intuition, creativity, sensing, holistic thinking. It is not time bound, it doesn’t think linearly. It just is a whole different world of thinking.
Now, since the research of the last 25 years has gone on, there’s extensive data to show that EQ, which deals with emotional intelligence, deals with self awareness, with empathy, with social skills and so forth, is much more important than IQ.
The final one is SQ, which stands for “spiritual intelligence.” This used to be kind of fringy, but no longer. I just finished reading my sixth book on spiritual intelligence, and it has become mainstream. There’s tremendous empirical data to show that inside of us is a deep need for meaning, for a sense of adding value, for a sense of our life mattering, that it really is significant.
Also, there’s a need for integrity, for living by our conscience, by principles, by those universal principles and values that belong to every religion and every major culture and every philosophy and psychology that has endured.
So those four intelligences, PQ for the body, EQ for the heart, SQ for the spirit and IQ for the mind, when they join together, there’s a synergy that results, and in that synergy, where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, is really the highest form of passion and intelligence and enthusiasm.
In fact, enthusiasm basically comes from the Greek root en theo, “God in you.” So there are four, these intelligences, that overlap.
Jack Canfield: So since this series is about passion, speak a little more deeply about the role of passion and how it’s played out in your life. And why is it so important for someone to know what they’re passionate about?
Stephen Covey: Well, I think it was Emerson who said, “Nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm,” which is perhaps another word for passion. And I feel that when you…
For instance, tomorrow I’m going to be training a group of leaders for a very large international organization, $10 billion sales. I’ve been preparing and studying their materials and studying their problems and their challenges, and the more I study it, the more I have conviction about what I’m going to teach them.
So when I combine together my convictions with their need, and also by empathizing with their people, I find that I totally lose all fear because I get so deeply passionate about my convictions in meeting their needs.
I only have an interest in helping them and in serving those needs. So it is not something that is artificial or forced, it’s kind of just like a well of water that just springs up inside you after you’ve primed the pump a little, and then it just flows and it’s almost hard to turn off. I feel so genuinely excited about what I’m going to do.
Jack Canfield: It sounds like it flows out too, of the relationship that develops between what you are and what they need to do and then it comes out of that relationship. Is that true too?
Stephen Covey: Absolutely, because I’ve come to learn that culture, which has to do with the quality of relationships and the norms and mores that govern people and organizations, that once you come to understand culture through real deep study and analysis, you start to discover that everything depends upon the quality of relationships.
If they’re really synergistic relationships or if they’re adversarial relationships, or if they’re what I call transactional relationships -that means where you go in and buy gas and you give money and you get gas, that’s a transaction - or a transformational leadership, where you actually interact with another person in such a genuine way in coming to understand their needs, and your own mind has been influenced powerfully, so you’re not just doing your shtick on them.
You’re literally influenced by them, almost like a physician would be when they come to a good diagnosis of a disease. Then you’ll find that there is a natural fire and enthusiasm to meet that need. It just comes naturally. It’s not forced, it’s not psyched up. It’s kind of just an intuitive, inward welling or swelling inside you that we could call passion or enthusiasm or excitement.
And then when you start to interact with them, and as the interaction takes place, you begin to learn more and then they learn more, and then you overlap your vulnerable part with their vulnerable parts. Something magic happens, and there is a passion and enthusiasm that happens in the relationship itself.
And you would never badmouth that person behind their back, which is a very common thing in life where you have transactions. But where you really have a transformation through the building of trusted relationships, there is no way you would badmouth a person. You would instead be true to them behind their back.
When that happens, you’ve got mores and norms in the culture that transcend rules and laws, and you don’t need them. Instead, you can begin to lead and manage through purpose and principles, and then you empower people and unleash their talent. Then they find their voice and their passion and they get excited.
That’s what happens inside these cultures and inside these organizations. For instance, the organization I’m working with tomorrow, they’re trying to put together one big team so that this natural passion emerges.
Well, they don’t have the skill set of how to produce synergy, and that’s why I’m going to focus on that, but they do know a little about the idea behind it. I’ll tell you, when it happens, there will be a natural fire and enthusiasm, a passion, that will take place inside that culture.
Jack Canfield: I’m sure most of the people listening here have had either themselves, a friend, or somebody who’s had the experience that when they were finding or expressing their voice and working with the expression of their own individual uniqueness, their own core genius, unique abilities and so forth, that often they felt like they were in competition with the needs of the organization, that somehow they didn’t blend.
How do you get this unique individual unfoldment that often feels in conflict with the needs of these large corporations to move? How do they interrelate? How does that interact?
Stephen Covey: That’s a good question because most people take an outside-in approach to that question. That is, they want their boss to change or they want the structures and systems to change, to make it more conducive for them to find their voice and unleash their talent and passion.
But the key is inside-out. You don’t build your security on the external world and external conditions and your boss’s opinion of you, and whether or not you’re being encouraged or supported, otherwise you get into “victimism”. When you get into victimism, you give your future away. You lose your passion, you lose your enthusiasm.
You literally are letting yesterday hold tomorrow hostage, and that is a very common thing with most people. It really is, Jack. It’s not until a person accepts responsibility, which I call Habit 1. They take responsibility and take initiative. Okay, so let’s say that they have a bad boss, and let’s say that they have bad systems and structures.
The thing they do have is a competitive environment, and if they, in their own small circle of influence can use their passion and their talent to exercise some freedom, some creativity in that small circle of influence successfully, little by little, in most cases, the pragmatic truths will convert the cynics.
In a few cases, they may decide to go elsewhere, or they may decide to seek a different position in the same organization. People can be very creative and very imaginative about how they do this, but I’ll tell you, people that are full of initiative and who don’t get into the blaming and victimism mentality, they’ll find their voice. They truly will, and they will find an opportunity to have that voice meet a relevant human need. People who say they can’t are into victimism.
Jack Canfield: So basically what you’re saying is that if you let your unique ability out, your creativity, your passion, then you’re going to start producing better results, and those results are going to be what impresses people to say, “Wait a second. Maybe we need to pay attention here. What this person or this group is doing is working, so let’s give them more freedom,” or even, “Let’s learn from them.”
Stephen Covey: Exactly. In fact, here’s an actual experience I had. I was training insurance general agents one time, and they were all complaining about the terrible training programs of the company. I said, “Well, why don’t you change them?”
They said, “Well, what do you mean?”
“Well, you’re not happy with these training programs. You feel that they’re just a big laser beam show and there’s no sharing of best practices. Why don’t you change it?”
“Well, that’s not our role.”
I said, “Look, you’ve argued for your weakness. Now it’s yours. You’re not a victim. You’re the top general agents in the company. You could make any presentation you wanted to, to the top decision makers, and if you make that presentation wisely, in other words, make their point for them better for them than they can, or as good as they can, first, before you make your point. You’ll become a change agent.”

There are other levels of initiative to be taken. The key point though, are not the seven levels of initiative. The key point is that you get out of victimism, and you start tapping into your own sense of what is right, and let that feed your enthusiasm and your passion.
Jack Canfield: I believe real love really stands in the support of one’s true potential, not in making people feel comfortable. A lot of our listeners have told us that even when they know what their talents and passions are, they often find that they still have fear, and that that fear blocks them from moving forward. How do you advise people to overcome that fear and move forward?
Stephen Covey: I think that you have to kind of conclude that there is something more important than fear, so that even though you may be fearful, you subordinate it to a higher purpose. And if that higher purpose is one that excites you, that gets your passions going to where you really feel it is right, and if you start giving yourself to it little by little, you’ll find that your fear will gradually recede, because you’ll become so concerned with other people and so less self-conscious, that little by little, and it does come patiently and with real effort, but I think that you overcome it.
I’ve found, for instance, the illustration I used earlier that, if I won’t talk to a person in the audience and genuinely empathize with their mindset, I lose all fear in my speech. But initially I have some, but I had to get so consumed with purposes being more important than the fear that the fear literally subsided over time.
Jack Canfield: In the next Passions interview, Chris is going to be interviewing your son, Stephen M. R. Covey.
Stephen Covey: Oh, great.
Jack Canfield: Yes, and your son has written and spoken about the speed of trust in relationships and business and leadership. By way of introducing us to your son and his work, could you talk about the speed of trust and why this is so important, just to give us a little segue into where we’re going next?
Stephen Covey: He really has drilled down on that subject, Jack. He’ll go into both character and competence and he’ll show that true trust over time comes through what you might call, a legacy of consistent results that convince other people that you are the real thing. That it isn’t your words, it’s your nature, it’s your character, combined with your competence together, and that once you have that, it’s faster than even the Internet.
In the Internet, you can make a mistake and you have to live with it, but where you have high trust relationships and you make a mistake, people will forgive you instantly. They know what you are. They know that you made a slip of the tongue. They know that you may not be politically correct all the time. That makes no difference, because they know your heart.
They trust you. They’ve had experiences with you all the time. And what I call the emotional bank account has got huge, huge deposits in it, so that a few small withdrawals mean nothing. And you can communicate almost in shorthand with those people.
I have certain relationships that we hardly even have to finish sentences, because the nuance communication is so real and so instantaneous, and it’s amazing how synergistic and how creative, “Oh, yes, I see that!”
“And then what about this idea?”
“Oh, yes, but I don’t know about that.”
“Well, what about this one?” They just build on each other’s ideas and it’s amazing to see people that can talk in shorthand with each other. And you see the speed of trust, and you also see the enormous cost.
And Stephen, my son, will get a lot into this, the enormous cost that you pay with low trust, and that it is the number one tax that far exceeds all of the other taxes and all of the other labor costs that you have. If you have low trust, every decision will be questioned. Your motives will constantly be questioned. People will operate on hidden agendas.
You’ll have the fruits of disempowerment, misalignment, inevitably people will not be on the same page. The costs are enormous when you have low trust and it slows down things profoundly.
And Stephen is the one who really helped my business be successful because I’m kind of a top line person, but he understood both the importance of the top line and the bottom line, and so he made the business profitable, because he understood cost control and the management of things, as well as the leadership of people.
He also is a person that inspired such trust that people would charge the hill for him. They would do anything for him. So what he’s talking about, and I’m glad you’re going to visit with him, because you’re talking to a person who really has lived this and knows it, and has built - I know it sounds like a prejudiced father, but you would talk to almost anyone who is associated with him - they’ll say essentially what I’m saying right now.
Jack Canfield: If there was one, single idea that you’d like to leave our readers with, what would that be?
Stephen Covey: I would say listen to your conscience. Start very small, make and keep a promise. Inwardly, people know some things they need to do right now. Everyone does. I do, you do, everyone does. If they will just make a small promise and keep it, at least very small, that they can do, and keep it.
Then make a little bigger promise later on and keep it; then a little bigger one. Eventually what happens is that your sense of honor becomes greater than your moods, and when that happens, you’ll discover the true source of power, and that’s moral authority.
Gandhi had it, and he was the father of the second largest country in the world on the largest democracy - never was elected, never was appointed. Parents should do this.
I would say one other thing to parents: Learn with your children to affirm their worth and potential so clearly, they come to see it in themselves. Don’t pay much attention just to weaknesses and behavior. See, in your mind’s eye, the tremendous potential, latent.
What I do often, when I teach this stuff, is I use a match, you know, and you have to take discipline, or friction, to light the match to unleash the tremendous power of that match which can destroy a building or give light to a dark place, or whatever. And then I take another match, and when you draw the two matches together, so the person feels, “Yes, you’re sincere. You genuinely do care. You are a servant leader, and you’re affirming me,” as that warmth gets closer and closer, then it ignites the flame in the other.
Then if you take that next match and light a candle, so that you institutionalize the capacity to make this sustainable, and you build it into the structured systems and processes of an organization, in a family, for instance, the key to a whole family culture is how you treat the child that tests you the very most.
And if you can show unconditional love to that one, the others will grow up with an abundant mentality, and not a comparison-based identity, where their sense of worth comes from being compared to other people. So I would say really affirm other people, their worth and their potential, and that’s the essence of true leadership.
Janet Attwood: Jack, it was just an honor being able to listen to both of you. So much profound knowledge. Thank you so much for being our host.
Stephen Covey: I want to thank both of you very, very much, for this great thing you’re trying to do to help people. I appreciate being part of it. Thank you.
Janet Attwood: Stephen, thank you for sharing, as Jack said, your profound depth of wisdom with us tonight. It’s no wonder you’ve been called one of the most influential thinkers of our time. As we said at the beginning of this interview, each of you will want to get a copy of The 8th Habit, as Jack said, and if you’re truly committed to discovering and living your personal best, may you run out today and order it immediately.
We look forward to being with all of you again, and remember, you are unique. No one else but you can give the world your unique gift. Our hope is that these interviews will help you to discover your passions and live your personal destiny.
This cover story is an abridged version of the full 1-hour plus interview with Dr. Stephen R. Covey conducted in front of a live Tele-Audience.
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