The Legacy of Dr. Stephen R. Covey Lives On

He was my friend, my coach and my mentor. No single man has had a greater influence on who I am, and who I want to be as a person, and leader, than Dr. Stephen R. Covey. Last week, a piece of me also died when he passed on. However his legacy will live on…through me and many others that learned from his “one in a billion” wisdom.

Because of a special relationship I had with Stephen, I would like to begin to share some of the lessons he shared with me throughout our synergistic partnership over the years. I am calling these lessons… Lessons from the Next Leadership Paradigm

You see, Stephen R Covey saw taught from the new leadership paradigm. He was already there, and I think his wisdom and teachings has even yet to be fully understood by the masses…but his day will come – I truly believe he was well ahead of his time.

I was one of the very lucky ones – I had the opportunity to connect with Dr. Covey through a number of different paths over the past 10 years.

It started when Dr. Covey called me to the stage with him Utah after he heard about the Positive Ticket movement from Richmond BC RCMP Detachment after the filming of the updated 7 Habits training video called Q2 Policing. It continued when I had the honor to co-present with him to senior police leaders in London, England. During this time, I also had the honor to work with him in the research and co-writing of his book titled “The End of Crime” (yet to be published). Stephen also invited me to contribute my leadership story in his recently released book “The 3rd Alternative”. Finally, Stephen also supported my own writing endeavours through 2 forewords he wrote for my books (1) Breaking With the Law: The Story of Positive Tickets and (2) Lead Big: Discovering the Upside of Unconventional Leadership.

As a result of these, and other special encounters with Dr. Stephen R. Covey, I would continue his legacy from my unique vantage point.


One day when I was sharing with Stephen how my community in Richmond British Columbia, Canada had give me my Chinese name (that translates into “3 ears”) I had told him the Chinese community gave me that name for being a good listener. I was telling him how I had my business cards printed out in both English and Chinese with my new name, and I was telling him how the community appreciated my attempt to be legitimate to the diversity that I worked within. It was after I told him the story, that he reached into his brief case and gave me a gift… he gave me his “talking stick” that he used during his speeches and presentations to teach about the power of listening – seek first to understand, then to be understood… he said “Ward, there is nothing more powerful than listening. Keep this as a reminder and always listen with your heart, your eyes and then your ears – truly listen and the magic will then happen”.

Think about this for just one minute… What was he saying?
What does all this mean?

Listen with your heart.

What does that mean? Well, here are some suggestions…How about, caring about the other person more than caring about you. How about trying to put you in their shoes and feel the emotional rollercoaster they are riding. How about just feeling their pain, their fear, their joy as they speak. Simply put, how about opening up your heart with love, care, forgiveness, and genuinely true interest.

Listen with your eyes.

What does that mean? How about looking at their situation, their position from a new lenses, a new filter – I call it “inverted lenses”. How about looking past just your place – your world, and your situation and seeing from another point of view. How about looking at body language and other tell tale signs of communication and emotion. Simply put, how about seeing the situation differently… seeing with inverted glasses (new lenses), and widening your vision past your limited perspective… having a SUPER Vision.

Then listen with your ears.

What does this mean? How about paying attention to every word, trying to understand what they are really trying to say. Wipe your mind clear of what you want to say, what you rebuttal might be…get rid of that and clear you mind to truly hear. After they are finished speaking, allow some time for silence and then ask clarifying questions to get to that deeper understanding.

There is nothing more powerful than listening.

Listen with your heart, your eyes and then your ears – truly listen and the magic will then happen.

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