INTOUCH : Up close with Stephen Covey

American Stephen Covey is internationally respected and world renowned as the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness.
Suzanna Rangi, the learning and development manager with NZIM Northern attended his recent workshop in Auckland.
Covey told attendees that learning is the skill of the future and our greatest investment in the future will be educating the workforce; we are in knowledge paradigm.
Covey describes us coming from distinctive paradigms in our lifetimes: hunters and gatherers (seeking and finding); agriculturists (growing from the land); industrialists (machines); technology and knowledge (where we are now) and; wisdom and creativity (where we will be in the future).
Organisations won’t survive the knowledge paradigm especially if they are exhibiting the ‘Four Chronic Problems’ in their organisation:
1 No clear purpose or vision;
2 Underutilised talent and potential;
3 Bureaucratic, misaligned systems;
4 Low trust.
These organisations are easy to pick as they have interdepartmental rivalry, are co-dependent, are ambiguous and have hidden agendas, are inflexible, and do not trust others or allow others to learn from their mistakes. Employees are an acute manifestation of the environment they work in and this will be destructive in any organisation.
On the other hand organisations that have aligned systems, clear purpose and vision, embrace talent and creativity, and inspire trust will be those that without doubt will lead the way into the 21st century. High trust leaders will be the essence of these organisations, and they will demonstrate respect, right wrongs, apologise without hesitation, always listen, lead by example and keep commitments. They will have people on the same map as them, have commitment from their teams and allow them to do their best whilst making them accountable.
Organisations will need to move from the old industrial adage of job descriptions and subordinates to the knowledge paradigm of partners, and unique contributors, employees also need to move from the expense column of the balance sheet into the asset part.
Covey’s message was clear and profound and had an impact on my thought process. Why am I focusing on the urgent and not the important, my value system is worn on my sleeve, my gratitude and forgiveness are the intrinsic values that drive me and will ultimately shape my future.
Thank you Stephen Covey for very reflective and enjoyable day. I will go away and rebuild one relationship and write personal mission statement.

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