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153: Leaders with Heart Go First

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In this episode, Heather speaks with Stephen M.R. Covey, cofounder of CoveyLink and the FranklinCovey Speed of Trust Practice and New York Times and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Speed of Trust. Stephen shares how trust is the foundation of his leadership journey. He also shares the origins of his drive to lead and some sage tips from his father, Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Heather, like Stephen, believes that trust lies at the foundation of caring leadership. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • Seek to bless not to impress. 
  • Life is about contribution, not accumulation. 
  • Have an awareness that trust matters enormously. 
  • Trust is learnable and doable. 
  • Build trust from the inside out. 
  • Do you trust yourself? Is it smart to trust you?
  • Declare your intent, declare yourself. 
  • Leaders must go first.

Stephen M. R. Covey is cofounder of CoveyLink and the FranklinCovey Speed of Trust Practice. A sought-after and compelling keynote speaker and advisor on trust, leadership, ethics, and collaboration, he speaks to audiences around the world. He is the New York Times and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Speed of Trust, a groundbreaking and paradigm-shifting book that challenges our age-old assumption that trust is merely a soft, social virtue and instead demonstrates that trust is a hard-edged, economic driver. The Speed of Trust has been translated into 22 languages and has sold over 2 million copies worldwide.

Stephen is also coauthor of the # 1 Amazon bestseller Smart Trust: The Defining Skill That Transforms Managers Into Leaders. He is also the former CEO of Covey Leadership Center. He personally led the strategy that propelled his father’s book, Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, to become one of the two most influential business books of the 20th Century, according to CEO Magazine. A Harvard MBA, Stephen joined Covey Leadership Center as a Client Developer and later became National Sales Manager and then President & CEO.

Stephen serves on numerous boards, including the Government Leadership Advisory Council, and he has been recognized with the lifetime Achievement Award for “Top Thought Leaders in Trust” from the advocacy group, Trust Across America/Trust Around the World.

Stephen resides with his wife and children in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains.

A big, never-ending journey

It’s always a journey. You never arrive. Right now, I’m all about trying to be a catalyst, along with many others, to increase trust in our world. I’ve led people and organizations and I love what I learned. Now I’m trying to take  those learnings to inspire people, cultures, and societies around a better way to operate in our world. We live in a world of declining trust. But there’s a better way to lead, a better way to live in this low trust world. It’s a lead out with trust and I’m trying to be part of a renaissance of trust. That’s a big, never ending journey.

In a world of declining trust and help, be a catalyst, along with many others, to bring about this renaissance of trust. – @StephenMRCovey #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Blessing, Contributing

I learned (my drive to lead) from my father.  There’s two dimensions of it. The first is to seek to bless, not to impress. What’s your motive? Is it to be served—to be selfish or is it to give, to bless, and to make a difference? Were you’re just trying to impress people with your knowledge, and your insider wisdom? Were you truly trying to bless people? Before every presentation I give, I always come back to that mantra. That gives me a sense of purpose and contribution that what I’m trying to do is not about me. I’m trying to have purpose, meaning and contribution to people. Then there’s also this idea that life is about contribution not accumulation. Your greatest contributions are always in front of you. It’s not like you’ve arrived. It’s always your thing. Life is about contribution not accumulation.  You have this sense of purpose and meaning of contribution. It’s been my True North. What would you consider your greatest contribution to the world? I hope that I’ve done two things as it relates to trust. I hope that I’ve created awareness as to why trust really is the one that changes everything—not just this soft, nice, warm, fuzzy, fluffy, and cuddly social virtue, but truly an economic driver. It affects the speed at which we can move. It affects the cost of everything. There’s a business case for trust. Well, at the same time showing that trust also affects everything, not only in economics, but in leadership. It affects our ability to create teams.

Give (your people) a better model of trust or what it looks like—lead out with yourself, your credibility, and your behavior. – @StephenMRCovey #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Declare your intent. Give the why behind the what. – @StephenMRCovey #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet 

Trust Changes Everything

Our ability to lead changes when there’s trust. You can do it so much better and faster. It affects our ability to collaborate. Without trust, you don’t collaborate but you merely coordinate. It affects our ability to innovate. It affects our ability to engage our people, to inspire our people, and to see them in their potential and their capabilities, as well as bringing it out. It affects our ability to do anything. Trust is the one thing that changes everything. That this is not a sideshow. It is a main tent activity—front and center. It is vital and indispensable both as a leadership multiplier, and an economic driver. We all at one level know that trust matters enormously. I’m trying to just make this so practical and tangible that it becomes obvious to people. I hope I’ve brought some awareness, recognition, and framing of how trust is the one that changes everything. That’s the first thing. The second thing, I hope I provided some useful frameworks and language on how trust is a learned skill or competency. It is something that we can learn, create, grow, establish, expand, extend, and in some cases even restore.

We need to say that there's a better way to lead and cooperate, where you can get results and do it in a way that inspires trust. – @StephenMRCovey #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Leadership is stewardship. – @StephenMRCovey #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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