In an interview I recently had with Dr. Stephen R. Covey for the FranklinCovey Client Facilitation Academy, I asked him a series of questions provided by our client facilitators that included challenges they are facing as they teach in their organizations to issues some may be struggling with when living the principles of effectiveness. In some cases, as the interviewer, I took the liberty of asking for further clarity or a “deeper dive” on topics that might be of interest. Those additional questions are italicized. Here are a few of the responses.
Q – Thomas Sibert of the Naval Support Activity asked :
“Early in the 7 Habits Signature Program, the idea of “principles” is introduced. It has worked for me to ask participants what principles of government the United States is based on. They quickly come to the Declaration of Independence and the statement “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men [and women] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Do you find this example consistent with your definition of a principle?”
A – Dr. Covey’s response:
“Definitely yes, but that is only the beginning because it took over 120 years for women to get the right to vote and over 80 years before we had the Emancipation Proclamation. So to enculturate and institutionalize these principles is the real challenge today.”
Please refresh us on the definition of principles vs values.
“To expand, a principle is a natural law like gravity. It’s different than a value. Values are subjective; principles are objective. Gravity… if you drop something, gravity controls. If I don’t tell you the truth, you won’t trust me-that’s a natural law. If I tell you the truth consistently and try to live it and apologize when I don’t and try to get back on track, then I’m living a natural law-repentance, making improvements, showing change.”
Q – Mark Allman with MEADWESTVACO asked:
“Of all of the items that you have worked with people on to help them in both their private and professional lives, if you could only share one thing with people, what in your opinion would impact them the most.”
A – Dr. Covey’s response:
“Educate and obey their conscience. Educate their conscience by studying the scriptures or the material that inspires them the most, until it becomes part of your conscience. Then obey it. Little by little, as you obey it, you will get more education and then you obey that. More and more light will come.
To read the interview in its entirety please clicks the link below to access the Academy archives or to learn how to become a certified FranklinCovey facilitator.
Author: Scott Miller, General Manager Global Client Facilitator Services, FranklinCovey
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