Dr. Stephen R. Covey, a worldwide best-selling author who held the Jon M. Huntsman Presidential Chair in Leadership at Utah State University, passed away on July 16, 2012, in his 80th year. Just three months later, on what would have been Dr. Covey’s 80th birthday, his eldest son, Stephen M. R. Covey, addressed a packed hall at a Special Commemorative Dean’s Convocation at the Huntsman School, to share his memories and thoughts about his father.
Stephen M. R. Covey thought back many years to when he was seven years old and his father gave him the responsibility for keeping the yard “green and clean”—“results words,” he said. He described how his father taught him to take responsibility for the lawn and how he was tasked with figuring out what to do to make it look as nice as their neighbor’s yard.
“I realized my dad trusted me, and I didn’t want to let go of that,” the son said. “My dad helped me find my voice. He would say, ‘Son, take responsibility. Use your own initiative. Make it happen. Be persistent.
“Dad had a very specific definition of leadership—it’s communicating people’s value and work so clearly that others are inspired to see it in themselves and then rise up from that.” His father would say, “I know what I want to do--unleash human potential.”
Stephen M. R. Covey personally led the strategy that propelled his father’s book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” to become one of the two most influential business books of the 20th century, as described by CEO Magazine.