While waiting at the counter of the local pizza take-away for my order to be ready, I found a magazine there with an interview with Stephen Covey (age 71, author of the 7 Habits, currently willing to come speak for you at $65.000 per appearance)

Stepehn R. Covey

In this interview he declared management of people superfluous. One manages money, stocks, portfolios, and the like, not people. Give people purpose and a course, and then stop interfering with them.
The interview ended with this quote (emphasis mine):
In most organisations there is a lack of trust, and most employees are powerless. In this era of knowledge-workers we still use the industrial model of control, in which we treat people like objects. It is as if we are still practising bloodletting, although we know all about bacteria and how they work.

Hans von Gersdorff, “Feldbuch der Wundarznei”, 1517 – Points for blood-letting (public domain)

When I asked the pizza-guy for pen and paper to write this quote down, he smiled at me and said ain’t that a good interview or what?.
So the pizza guy gets it, but the CEO’s don’t.
But as Covey said in the same interview it’s all common sense really, just not common practice.

8 reactions on “Covey on Management

  1. Maybe as a powerless employee, a Pizza guy sees a lot that could be done but he is restricted from doing.
    This is probably why some very successful businesses have started from employees of similar companies. 😉

  2. Pizza Pundit

    Ton Zylstra shares a slice of his pizzaria encounter with Stephen Covey and the widely unaccepted reality that assets need management, but people need purpose: It is as if we are…

  3. A corollary of that: I have known for years that I can be led (ie, given a purpose) but I can’t be managed. But it’s possible to teach something called management while leadership is more elusive. So we have lots of managers and very little leadership.

  4. The question is, why is it that “in most organisations there is a lack of trust, and most employees are powerless.” This is simply because the system is set up this way, and the current workplace ‘system’ stems from our current definition(s) of leadership. I recommend you read this brilliant paper, “why your boss is programmed to be a dictator” (http://www.changethis.com/19.bossdictator) – it analyzes leadership from a systems framework…the results are startling!

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