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Susan M. Heathfield

Leadership Greatness Summit Take-aways

By April 11, 2008

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Wednesday, I attended a Stephen Covey seminar on leadership greatness. Covey, the author of several books, including the enormously popular Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (compare prices) and The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness (compare prices), and the mastermind behind a training, speaking, facilitating, and products empire, is a good speaker, a genuine human being, and I enjoyed my day. I have to admit that I did not learn a lot that was new. When you've been in training and Human Resources as long as I have been, and you already believe the fundamental principles he espouses, that is not at all unusual.

I was reminded of several facets of working with people that are important to me, however. And, every consultant has his or her own special way of highlighting these principals. Stephen Covey is an internationally renowned pro, so I enjoyed observing his process and his method of interacting with the group, too. I was also impressed with the caliber of the people who helped him onsite. Probably fourteen FranklinCovey staff members were onsite helping with the seminar and product sales.

My favorite take-aways from the day, other than enjoying the time spent with TechSmith staff at the seminar, were these: I am a teacher and a learner; these have been my life missions no matter what job I have held or in what consulting practice I have been engaged. So, Covey's take on why to teach what you learn is important. In teaching, you:

  • Learn better yourself,
  • Become motivated to live the information,
  • Increase your ability to listen within another individual's frame of reference (empathic listening),
  • Legitimize change, and
  • Bond with the audience.
Next, echoing my own most deeply held beliefs, he reminded me:

Leadership is communicating people's worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.

Organizations have six cancers: criticizing, comparing, complaining, competing, contending, and cynicism.

Finally, the four most chronic problems organizations experience are:

  • No clear purpose or vision,
  • Underutilized talents and potential,
  • Bureaucratic, misaligned systems, and
  • Low trust.
Picture this: the seminar ends with a three-four minute film that has a sound track played by a concert pianist. I became so wrapped up in the film and the music that when the film ended and the music played on, my brain needed to adjust to the fact that Jon Schmidt, the pianist in the film (thanks, Troy!), was playing the same song on a concert grand piano in the seminar room. And, I thought to myself and to my neighbor, the sounds of greatness are moving us forth into the real world of application and contribution. The song, called Waterfalls, is available as a free download (thanks Kari!), but I plan to purchase the CD. Amazing music.

More About Leadership

April 13, 2008 at 7:09 pm
(1) Susan says:

This sounded great. Where did you attend this? Where is the next one held?

April 14, 2008 at 12:15 pm
(2) Ginny says:

“servant leadership”? “secular seminar”? Not very PC, particularly in today’s HR world.

April 14, 2008 at 2:01 pm
(3) Mike says:

Great Stuff !

The following link will allow you and your blog friends create a VIP account to FranklinCovey ‘s “New” CRM where you will be able to beta the new mission statement builder by FranklinCovey . Use the following link to create an new account without having to enter a credit card.


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Really Enjoyed your comments



April 14, 2008 at 6:22 pm
(4) Steve Pohlit says:

In my experience the approach of having a clearly established goal with well defined action steps works very well when there is clear accountability for the action steps and timely measurement of performance.

April 15, 2008 at 8:08 am
(5) Rob Lippert says:

From the first time I read about Mr. Coveys’s teachings I was changed. I have used his methods in communicating with my sons, family and co-workers. The common principles he has packaged make so much sense. I was so taken by his works that I have become a Franklin-Covey facilitator so I can train my co-workers.

I have seen Mr. Covey speak a few times and every time I take in something new and exciting. Hope you enjoyed Lansing. I wanted to see Mr. Covey again, but due to financial situation here at the State I was unable to go.

April 15, 2008 at 12:34 pm
(6) Jann Freed says:

Great site with valuable information. Thanks for sharing. J

April 15, 2008 at 5:24 pm
(7) Ange Kenos says:

In my former life as a teacher I was required to create a leadership subject for students. If this material had been around a few years ago I would have saved so much time. This is on target. Brilliant. Thanks

April 16, 2008 at 1:47 am
(8) Odong Mike says:

This is an inspiring,enriching post of recent times.I am a student of some mentoring programme & your website is an answer to my perenial desire to excel in leadership & management.

Mike Odong,Uganda

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