Capital Investment Advisors

#112 – Leading By Trust And Inspiration with Stephen M. R. Covey

There are many qualities that a leader should possess. A good leader has empathy, integrity, and confidence, as well as two important qualities; trust and inspiration. In this episode, Wes sits down with Stephen M. R. Covey, a New York Times and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author, writer, public speaker, co-founder and CEO of CoveyLink Worldwide, and former President and CEO of Covey Leadership Center, to discuss leading by trust and inspiration.

Stephen shares takeaways from his books and his role in the success of his father’s book, along with the scalable business that came from it. He also explains why we need to become trust and inspire leaders rather than command and control leaders, and how a good leader can help you feel purpose and meaning. Additionally, Stephen reveals why the best relationships are centered around trusting one another, how it’s possible to restore trust if we’re willing to behave our way back into it, and lists some well-known leaders that inspire him. Stephen wraps up by sharing how leadership can be utilized in different companies and in life, as well as the principles that build trust.

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This information is provided to you as a resource for informational purposes only and is not to be viewed as investment advice or recommendations.  This information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance, or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. This information is not intended to, and should not, form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make. Always consult your own legal, tax, or investment advisor before making any investment/tax/estate/financial planning considerations or decisions.

Read Show Notes From This Episode (click to expand and read notes from the full interview)
    • Wes brings up Stephen’s books. Also asks about Stephen’s role in the success of his father’s book and the scalable business that came from it. His dad had been teaching the 7 habits of highly effective people before all of that. Stephen tells the story. He joined after getting his MBA from Harvard. He had an option to go to Wall Street, an option to go into real estate, but then his dad said “Come join us. We’re about to launch the 7 Habits book.” And Stephen said he knew that was going to be huge and so he chose to join up with his father and the Covey Leadership Team. He later became the CEO. They went from Stephen R. Covey the person into Covey Leadership the firm. And more growth. Part of his job was to grow the business and scale it. His father was so mission-driven, they were doing so many things that made a big impact on people but they weren’t making money on it. So they adopted the mantra, if there’s no margin, there’s no mission. They needed to build a business model that was commensurate with the impact of the content.

      They formed FranklinCovey in 1997, operating in 150 countries around the world doing leadership and time management. (Covey Leadership merged with Franklin Quest to form FranklinCovey).

      He’s really found his voice with “The Speed of Trust.” He’s still with FranklinCovey but now he has the autonomy to run that piece of the business. He basically writes and speaks. He kind of took on the role his dad used to have. His dad passed away in 2012. He’s not putting himself in that category but he’s doing a similar role.

      Wes brings up how both of his books have “trust” in the title. Wes has an interest in leadership. Wes used to think leadership was just about being charismatic. But he’s learned that it’s something you can learn and get better at. We can all become much better at it.

      Wes says asks about the Retire Sooner audience and what advice he has for that. Stephen says he loves the premise and loves that Wes is helping people. Stephen says today we need to trust and inspire leaders rather than command and control leaders. Wes asks Stephen to explain the old and more sugar-coated versions of command and control. He does. Things were added like A.I. and mission and strengths but the mental map, paradigm, of how we view leadership hasn’t shifted enough. It’s still about trying to leverage people – people are a means to the end instead of being the end in and of themselves. It’s a better version of command and control, but we need to become more enlightened about this. You manage things but you lead people. Don’t manage people the way you’d manage things. If you manage people like things you’ll end up with no people. The whole Great Resignation and Great Reshuffling speaks to that.

      Wes brings up the core theme of trust and asks him to explain to the audience how that is at the core of what we do. As leaders, what do we trust? How do we do that from person to person? Stephen says the heart of good leadership is trust. If you haven’t built trust you’re not leading. It all starts first with looking in the mirror and asking “do I trust myself? Both the character side and the competent side.

      Stephen tries to unleash the talent of others. That’s leadership. This trust and inspire style of leadership really unleashes that greatness the way command and control never will. Create the conditions to flourish. (Wes loves that).

      Wes asks for Stephen’s take on the Great Reshuffling or moving cities. Stephen says with all the work from home during COVID, people realized, “Hey, I can live where I want to.” But they also started to ask “Is this job worth going in and living where I don’t want to live?” He says we were moving toward this but COVID accelerated it toward a factor of 10.

      Wes says he thinks this goes back to retirees today where it’s common for someone to have a part-time job or a hobby income where it’s a field they enjoy. Stephen says yeah, doing things that give you purpose and meaning. A leader can help someone feel that. The retiree can know someone has their back. Stephen says motivation isn’t bad inherently but it can be a carrot/stick command and control type of thing. If you can go beyond engagement and into inspiring, it’s so much better.

      Stephen says you might retire from work but you never want to retire from contributing.

      Stephen says the best relationships we have are ones in which we trust each other.

      Smart trust, not blind trust. Start with trust and go from there. To be trusted is the most inspiring form of motivation.

      Low trust environments are exhausting.

      By restoring trust – you can’t talk your way out of a problem that you’ve behaved your way into. With most people, it’s possible to restore trust if we’re willing to behave our way back into it. Owning responsibility. Make a commitment. Keep the commitment. Follow through.

      In “The Speed of Trust” he’s identified 13 ways to build or destroy trust.

      Stephen says Barbara Rittenhouse is his friend. She studies CEO letters and has A.I. analyze how much is spin and how much is straight talk. From there she figures out how well financially those companies are doing.

      Wes says the most “un-spin” things he reads seem to be letters from Warren Buffet. Stephen agrees. Straight shooter.

      Wes asks Stephen for another example of a leader he loves. Stephen says Eric Yuan at Zoom. They had some problems with security. He owned it and fixed it. Satya Nadella at Microsoft. Cheryl Bachelder – CEO of Popeyes.

      Wes starts to wrap up. They talk more about leadership and how it can be used in different companies.

      Stephen says your greatest contribution is always in front of you.

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