A dear friend and long-time mentor, Stephen R. Covey, died this week. In the coming weeks, many will write about his enormous influence in the business world, in families, and on the international political stage. Rather than add to that well-deserved chorus, I’ll express my personal gratitude and remembrance.
In 1984, I heard Stephen speak at a business conference. His speech opened up a whole new field to me that redirected my professional plans. Prior to that speech, I had never heard of the Organizational Behavior field. I changed the course of my studies, joined him in his fledgling company, and began a career that has enabled me to be part of work that I find immensely meaningful.
In 1990, I left Stephen’s company to begin a new one and to study more carefully how to influence profound and sustainable behavior change in large human systems. While Stephen would have preferred that I stay with his company, he was abundantly generous in wishing me well—and even went out of his way to endorse our work on many occasions. I have no doubt that his foreword to Crucial Conversations was an important part of its success.
Stephen R. Covey has had as great an influence on who I am and what I do as anyone else in the world. His consecrated life, his principle-centered approach to our field, and his fundamental faith that true principles will bear up to scientific scrutiny in organizational success have blessed my life and my work. I thank God for bringing this good man into my life.
– Joseph Grenny, cofounder of VitalSmarts and coauthor of Crucial Conversations