US management theorist and consultant. He taught at Brigham Young University from 1957 before founding the Covey Leadership Centre in 1983. This merged with the training company Franklin Quest in 1997 to form the Franklin Covey Company, providing leadership development programmes used by many of the Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, and all levels of government.
In the research for his thesis, Covey looked at ‘success literature’ in US history. He observed that since World War II, the ‘character’ ethic, such as integrity or courage, as the foundation of success had been replaced by the ‘personality’ ethic, which depended on technique and appearance. His findings led him to write the best-selling The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (1989); he argued that the first three habits – ‘Be proactive’, ‘Begin with the end in mind’, and ‘Put first things first’ – help to develop independence, while the next three – ‘Think win/win’, ‘Seek first to understand, then to be understood’, and ‘Synergize’ – develop interdependence. The seventh, ‘Sharpen the saw’, means to undergo continuous improvement and renewal.
Covey was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. After graduating with a BS from the University of Utah in 1952, he served as a Mormon missionary for two years in England and the Republic of Ireland. He received an MBA in 1957 from Harvard Business School, where he became interested in people-based management. He then joined Brigham Young University, firstly as an administrator and then professor of organizational behaviour, receiving his PhD in 1976. He was a professor at the Jon M Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University at the time of his death.
His other books include First Things First: Principle-Centered Leadership (1991), The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families (1997), The 8th Habit (2004), and The Leader in Me (2008).
Covey, Stephen R