When Stephen Covey is NOT Stephen Covey

At the Search Engine Strategies conference in Denver last week, we met Dante Monteverde at the Website Services Magazine booth. Great guy, but he told us he wasn’t the only Dante Monteverde. You see, his father is, too. Next Tuesday, we will get to meet and hear Stephen Covey speak – no, not that Stephen Covey. You see, this Stephen Covey is Stephen MR Covey. The one you probably already know about is Stephen R Covey. Is that clear?

Yes, a little clarification is in order. Stephen R. Covey is the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, The 8th Habit and a bunch of other motivational business books and audios. Everyone knows Stephen R. Covey.

The guy everyone doesn’t know is Stephen MR Covey. Now, I want to be completely transparent here and admit that I’ve always had a thing for people with a more than one initial in their name. This past year we met Mark SA Smith at the National Speakers Association, and besides being a great speaker and a very nice guy, I gotta’ tell you, he’s got a very cool name. And what a quick way to get instant differentiation!

But let’s get back to Stephen MR Covey. Yes, he is the son of Stephen R Covey, and, yes, he did work for his dad. Um, a little more than that, I guess. He orchestrated the merger between the Covey Leadership Center and Franklin Quest and then led it to the growth that produced the powerhouse company called Franklin Covey. So, if he was almost anyone else’s son that alone would get our attention. But, he’s Stephen Covey’s son, so we yawn and say, “What else you got?

Well, it seems this Stephen Covey has a new take on a disappearing business and life skill called “Trust.” He’ll be speaking about what he calls “The Speed of Trust,” this coming Tuesday at the Park Meadows Marriot in Littleton. He’ll be speaking at 8:30 AM – and if you come, you’ll get a copy of his new book called, you guessed it, The Speed of Trust.

So, who is Stephen MR Covey and would it be worth going to hear him speak? As I write this post, the U.S. House of Representatives is being rocked by a scandal characterized by yet another breach of the public trust. The business headlines are also peppered with the latest on corporate betrayals of trust. And, you may well have you’re your own examples where you’ve experienced this absence of trust.

So, what if someone with a fairly good pedigree came along with some new ideas on how to build trust back into our businesses, our society and our world? Might you listen? What if I told you that I’ve read the first 50 pages of that yet unreleased book, and it’s pretty darn good?

Covey illustrated his “speed of trust” in a recent interview. About a year ago, Warren Buffett bought a $23 company called McLane Distribution from Wal-Mart. Both Berkshire Hathaway and Wal-Mart are public companies, but even so, the deal was essentially completed in a two-hour meeting. Covey related that Warren Buffett said, “I trusted Wal-Mart, I trusted the people I worked with. I knew everything would be in exactly the order that they said it would be, and it was.”

What would happen to your world if you worked within that kind of trust? Here’s a personal example from our dealings with the Stephen MR Covey organization. Sheryl and I asked David Kasperson and Suzanne Leonard to let us cover Mr. Covey’s upcoming speech as reporters for this blog. They didn’t know us from Adam, and we were “transparent” about the limited reach of our recently started little blog. They knew they likely had little to gain by granting a press pass to us, but within a few hours we had our invitations to the speech – and a whole new reserve of “trust” to call upon with them. They didn’t ask for any editorial control or any special attention. They just seemed to be living the trust they teach.

And, they are not the only ones. Recently Robin Neal from the American Business Women’s Association and Chris Sherman from the Search Engine Strategies Conference have trusted us with press passes, even though our reporter’s credentials are, well, scant. With people like these, there’s a lot to build on when it comes to trust in our society. Maybe we can even take back the news headlines from those who continue to breach the community trust.

In that same interview we mentioned above, Stephen MR Covey related how he made the decision to work with his father at the Covey Leadership Center instead of pursue his then current real estate career. Stephen R. Covey asked his son, “That’s great if you want to do real estate. Nothing wrong with that. It’s exciting, it’s fun; you’re good at it. But do you want to spend your life building buildings or building souls?”

Sounds like something Stephen Covey would say – no, not that Stephen Covey – the other one.

(Reminder: The event featuring Stephen MR Covey and his book, The Speed of Trust, is on Tuesday, October 10 at 8:30 AM at the Park Meadows Marriot in Littleton. See you there – or if you can’t go – we’ll report it for you right here in 8 days.)

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