Stephen Covey may of passed away but he has inspired millions

English: Stephen Covey at the FMI Show, Palest...
English: Stephen Covey passed away but his work lives on (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is said that a man that follows his passion and then teaches and shares it with the world for everyone’s benefit is a man that lives fully.

One such man is Stephen Covey of ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People‘ fame. His work, passion and his ethics of learn, teach and learn even more through teaching has inspired and made a difference in millions of lives around the world.

Dorothy Pomerantz of Forbes had this to say:

Author Stephen Covey, the man behind the “Highly Effective” empire, passed away today. He was 79.

Covey, who studied business at the University of Utah and Harvard, published his best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,  in 1989. His “habits” included being proactive, beginning with an end in mind and putting first things first. The seemingly simple steps were embraced by business people around the word who still flock to seminars to hear speakers pontificate on the habits.

I follow Dorothy’s sentiments on ‘pontificate’ but I think it has been alot more than that. Millions have put these 7 habits into practice and experienced highly successful and beneficial results.

In 2004, Covey came up with a 8th habit which allowed him to publish a whole new book. Overall his books have sold 20 million copies in 38 languages, according to Covey’s website.

Over the years, Covey became about much more than just selling books. We estimate that since 1989, his ideas have spawned an empire that has generated $1.4 billion over 23 years.

Most of the money was earned by Franklin Covey, a public company. In 1997 Covey merged with Franklin Quest, which had been best known for organizers and planners, to form Franklin Covey. About three years ago the company divested the planner division to focus solely on seminars and consulting.

The Utah-based company has 590 employees and last year brought in $161 million. Businesses around the globe sign up for Franklin Covey’s seminars about trust, leadership and customer loyalty. In the down economy the business is going strong as executives search for any education that will give them advantages. 2011 revenues were up for the second year in a row and the stock is doing fine, trading at $10 per share, close to a 52-week high.

The $1.4 billion doesn’t represent what Covey was worth when he passed away. A spokesperson for his family pointed out that Franklin Covey is worth $170 million and Covey only owned about 7% of the company which would make his share worth $12 million.

But it’s a statement about the industry that Covey’s work spawned that will likely continue well after his death.

It’s interesting that money is a measurement used in this news report in the wake of Mr Covey’s death. His life obviously had inspired an industry of bringing these life changing teachings to a worldwide audience, and I agree that this service has grossed big money over the years. It’s sad that the money is what is focused upon rather than the impact the work has had on so many lives.

I’ve saw Covey at a seminar in Calgary, Canada in 2010. Was he inspiring? I’d say he was more than that. He lived and breathed a way of being, a way of communicating and a way of overcoming differences of opinion in a way that couldn’t help but touch and inspire the hearts in the room including my own.

Who knows what impact such deliveries have? Who knows what the awareness he brought to a room had on the lives of the people present and the people that were met by the participants that applied what was shared.

The value this work has brought to the world is difficult to measure, and as Dorothy reports fairly large monetary figures lets say it must have stretched quite far and wide.

For me Mr Covey will not be remembered by the $1.4 billion of the Franklin Covey corporation but by the life he breathed and shared. And I for one feel very blessed that I had the good fortune to meet him and listen to what he had to share.



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