Sunday, July 22, 2012

Thinking Habits - Stephen Covey

By Bill Doughty

Stephen Covey died this week, leaving a legacy of helping people. The Navy recognized Covey's themes of ethics, leadership and good habits by choosing his "Seven Habits of Effective Leadership" as a key title in the Navy Professional Reading Program.

It was the first book to be reviewed here at Navy Reads in 2009.

He bonded with the Navy because he could see -- aboard the submarine USS Santa Fe or applied aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln -- how the Navy recognized the difference between leadership and management.

In good times or bad, Covey's insights can be applied to help individuals or families.  His principle-centered leadership theories are used by schools interested in furthering science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by developing good leadership techniques and habits.

No doubt Covey, who helped people after Columbine, would be trying to help Aurora, Colorado in the wake of the tragic shooting at the showing of Batman "The Dark Knight Rises" this week.

A fitting tribute to Covey was aired by National Public Radio the day he died, well before the tragedy in Aurora.

NPR's story shows how Covey will be remembered:
Covey's ideas have also been embraced by more than 800 schools worldwide. The first was A.B. Combs Elementary School in Raleigh, N.C. Following the Columbine shootings, the school was looking for a way to improve its environment and performance.
"Our children are making better decisions [and] we're seeing a huge decline in discipline [problems]," says Muriel Summers, the school's principal.
Summers says the school also saw an increase in test scores and more engaged families, since it also taught Covey's 7 Habits to the students' parents.
"It's pretty amazing what is happening," she says.
Her words would most likely be music to Covey's ears. He loved inspiring and working with young children and had more than 50 grandchildren of his own. His publicist said Monday that she thinks Covey would most want to be remembered for being a good family man.
Reading Stephen Covey -- thinking about values, ethics, good habits and leadership -- may be the best way of honoring his memory and legacy and remembering what's really important.

Stephen Covey on the meaning of life: "Live, love, laugh, leave a legacy."

Among the victims of the tragedy in Aurora were at least two people with direct ties to the Navy,  Petty Officer Third Class John T. Larimer and Navy veteran Jonathan T. Blunk; Air Force Sgt. Jesse Childress; and former Airman Rebecca Wingo.

According to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta:

“I know that many are struggling to understand why these innocent lives were taken from us, and how such a tragedy could occur in this country. Even as we try to make sense of this evil act, we are also moved to learn more about the actions of men and women like SSgt. Childress, who threw himself in front of his friend in the movie theater to shield her from the gunman. His selflessness saved her life, at the cost of his own.
“These acts of heroism and sacrifice are the essence of what military service is about -- putting your life on the line to defend those who are part of the American family.
“Let us all honor the victims of this tragedy by committing ourselves to the hard work and sacrifice of protecting this country. Bravery, courage, and dedication are the hallmarks of our men and women in uniform -- our heroes..."

How would Covey have wanted us to honor the victims of the shooting in Aurora?  How would he have wanted us to analyze the root cause and take action?

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