Stephen Covey is arguably the father of the modern coaching movement even though Tony Robbin’s website also lays the claim to the title. After the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, was published in 1989 people rushed to develop personal mission statements and develop principle centred leadership. The book has sold 15 million copies and has been translated into 38 languages; it is still on the Wall Street Journal’s business bestseller list (Fenner, E.). His consulting company is a multi million dollar industry that has 1500 employees and operates internationally in over 38 countries.
His other works such as “First Things First” and “Principle Centred Leadership” are also international bestsellers have continued on with his themes of living with integrity and effective management of oneself. He also stresses that we are responsible for our choices. “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
Covey unlike many other modern gurus’ is quite well qualified to comment on business management and organisational development. He has studied business at Utah University and Harvard business school before returning to Brigham Young University. His PhD thesis was on American success literature since 1776. It was out of this study that he developed the concept that for much history leadership was character centred but in recent times we had become more interested in superficial techniques, style and glib statements. His call is to return to a principle centred leadership based on integrity and honesty.
Covey’s success can also be attributed to his application of the principles to his own business. He is focussed in his goal of turning the Covey Leadership centre into the largest self help multi-national in the world (Witchdoctors p. 149). The franchise continues to grow after the 7 Habits came, “Principle centred leadership” then “First things First, then his son wrote 7 Habits for highly effective teens the Eight Discipline was released in 2004.