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Remembering Stephen Covey

Posted by Melissa Byers

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Jul 16, 2012

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The following is a post from Christopher A. Brown, Executive Vice President of NFI. 

I learned today that Dr. Stephen R. Covey died today from injuries sustained from a biking accident. He was 80 years old. You might recognize Dr. Covey as the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the best-selling business book of all time. But to me Stephen was one of my mentors. It was his work—the application of the 7 Habits, specifically—that directed me toward the work I do today.

Before I arrived at National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI), I served as a health communications and social marketing consultant with the Texas State Department of Health Services. During my time there I took a 7 Habits workshop. A light bulb went on inside my head during the workshop that illuminated how and where I should direct my career. I decided right then and there that I would focus my career on helping fathers connect with their children. I just didn’t know how at the time.  

Fortunately, I learned how to instill the 7 Habits into my professional and personal life and, most important to this story, to Begin with the End in Mind (the 2nd Habit), my end being full-time work helping organizations build capacity to serve fathers and families. 

Not soon thereafter a friend learned about NFI’s need to hire a director to run a statewide fatherhood initiative in Texas. He passed the information on to me and within a few weeks NFI hired me. The rest, as they say, is history.

But the story doesn’t end there. 

In 2003 we honored Dr. Covey with a Fatherhood Award™ based on how his work and personal life represented everything that is good and valuable about involved, responsible and committed fathers. 

I chaperoned him for 3 hours at the awards dinner and had the opportunity to tell him how much his work meant to me. He was flattered by my thanks, but what he really wanted to know was how our two organizations—NFI and FranklinCovey—could partner to help fathers. (That interest was not a surprise given the 6th Habit—Synergize.) 

When he returned to Utah where his company is based, he immediately instructed his staff to work with NFI to develop a joint effort. The result was NFI’s The 7 Habits of the 24/7 Dad™ curriculum and workshop, the first and still only co-branded curriculum of the FranklinCovey company. 

I had the honor of co-authoring the curriculum with Dr. John M.R. Covey, Stephen’s brother.

Thus Dr. Covey’s legacy reaches into the work of NFI and the lives of the thousands of fathers, children, and families that we and our direct-service partners help every year. 

It is with sadness at his passing and joy about his contribution to our work that I honor Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s life.

photo credit: agirregabiria

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Topics: research, men, recommending reading, stephen covey

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