RIP, Dr. Stephen Covey (1932-2012)

covey2I think this post is both urgent and important… Dr. Stephen Covey has passed away, at age 79.

Read Tom Peters’ tribute to Dr. Covey here, which includes:

One simply cannot pay tribute to Stephen Covey without saying at the outset that he was a lovely human being.

News stories:

I had the good fortune, thanks to the kind people at the Shingo Prize organization, to meet Dr. Covey (who was newly involved with their work) in 2010 and was given the chance to talk 1×1 and to interview him for my podcast.

From the podcast:

Mark Graban: The one question I would ask for your thoughts on is Toyota’s principle of “respect for people,” or often referred to as “respect for humanity.” Could you share some thoughts on the importance of respect in workplace, what does that really mean?

Dr. Covey: I think that it’s of profound importance because it means you are caring and you trust them to do the right thing.

As I wrote about in 2010, the chance to speak with Dr. Covey was special. Even in a crowded room at a reception, he was incredibly “present” and, during our chat (both the recording and afterward), I felt like I was (at that moment) the most important person in the world to Dr. Covey. It was a humbling moment and a reminder that I need to try much harder at being half as present as he was in that moment. What a gift he gave to me, his full and undivided attention. It’s still a very vivid memory… and I’ll remember him as an incredibly kind and thoughtful man, not just a successful author and speaker.


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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an eBook titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

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9 Comments on "RIP, Dr. Stephen Covey (1932-2012)"

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  1. Mark Graban
    Twitter:
    says:

    Some quotes shared on Twitter:

    ‘What we are communicates far more eloquently than anything we say or do.’ -Stephen Covey

    “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent & not enough time on what is important.” Stephen Covey

    “The way we see the problem is the problem.” Stephen Covey

    “One of the most important ways to manifest integrity is to be loyal to those who are not present.” Stephen Covey

    “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.” ~ Stephen Covey

    The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. -Stephen R Covey

    Little kindness and courtesies are so important. In relationships, the little things are the big things.~Stephen R. Covey

  2. I owe him so much. R.I.P. We will miss him.
    Jose Miguel Vives recently posted..Entrevista: Mark GrabanMy Profile

  3. Dr Covey was one of those rare people, who constantly promoted the same message, and could not only point out the theory behind the message, but its common sense, logic, and reral world application.

    If more organizations were run on his teachings, change, improvement, growth and opportunity would be the order of the day.

    As we miss the living man we need to embrace his teachings, and accept our role to pass them on to those we meet with, both in how we act and in what we do, as well as in what we teach to others.

    If we all listen to what Stephen taught us and acting with respect and integrity in our lives and looking after the little things in our relationships, we can help create the better world he wanted us to have and live in.

    I owe him much of the happiness in my life, because his teaching taught me; the right way to care for those around me, and the way to live my life so that I can stand myself.

  4. Bart Sellers says:

    “Principles before practice” and the “clean and green story” are two of the lasting thoughts from Dr. Covey that continue to form my habits. Dr. Covey was a true gentleman in every sense. His inspirational legacy will be with us for many years.

  5. Al Norval says:

    Sad news indeed. Dr. Covey was one of the most influential people in the world today having a tremendous personal impact on people. He embodied the lean principle of “Respect for People”.

  6. Jocky says:

    He will be missed. I learned so much from the 7 Habits that made me a better person (not just “more effective”), and am deeply grateful for that.
    Jocky recently posted..Inspiring Quotes: Stephen Covey on living out of your imagination, not your history.My Profile

    • Hi Jocky

      I too, feel Covey did far more to make me a better person, I was an effective individual before. And I think that his main goal was to improve us as people, and organizations, and making us more effective at the same time was the bonus he gave us. In everything he was involved with there was always the underlying message that to be better at something you had to first be better as a person.

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