Posted in Business, Creativity, Relationships

Omaha – Franklin Covey ~ Review of Leadership and Management Sessions

COPA Airlines fleet parked at Tocumen Internat...
COPA Airlines fleet parked at Tocumen International Airport, Panama City, Panama. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Date:  14 December 2012


Morning:  Management “Essentials”

Afternoon:  Leadership “Contract and Essentials”

Hosts:  Randy Nelson, introduced by Elizabeth Burton

Location:  Omaha Marriott ~ Regency Court

Thesis:  Workshops geared to managers who are seeking to effect change in their organizations; developing new mindsets and thinking differently.

Overall Assessment:  Both of the sessions offered were “teasers” for what would normally be a full two or three day event hosted on site for any corporation purchasing a Franklin Covey workshop.  These were highly informative sessions that provided a high-level overview of techniques, habits and tools used to improve an organizations communication, workplace culture, and employee wellness.  The overview was punctuated by book recommendations, thought leaders, and numerous short videos to support session content.

The introduction video for the Management session emphasized that one of the biggest mistakes made in organizations is “trying to manage others before managing yourself.” People will manage themselves…most put enough pressure to perform on themselves, supervisors piling on doesn’t usually help the situation.  The seven habits embody the maturity continuum:

1)      Be Proactive ~ “Use your R&I”  (Resourcefulness and Initiative)  There is always a way.  You just have to be persistent, creative and believe that failure is not an option.

2)      Begin with the end in mind ~ When an initiator or team member, make your contribution—don’t hold back.

3)      Put first things first ~ Learn to focus and distinguish the important and urgent from the unimportant and not urgent.  Come up with three Wildly Important Goals (WIGS)

4)      Think Win Win! ~ Find ways to ensure that all stakeholders come out as winners!  Use performance agreements to obtain employee commitment and engagement. Never give feedback if you can’t work it so that both sides achieve a win/win!

5)      Seek 1st to understand, then to be understood ~ Be sure you’re practicing the art of “active listening” rather than just hearing when employees are speaking to you.

6)      Synergize ~ Combining talent, skills, resources and energy across your organizations, teams and individuals can provide amazing results otherwise singly not achievable. Use prototypes and countertypes to find the best fitting solutions.

7)      Sharpen the saw ~ Seeking continuous improvement to perfect a work/life balance is key.  Each one of us has four parts that mustn’t be neglected:  Body, heart, mind & spirit.

In addition to the Covey family, the following thought leaders, authors and companies were mentioned:

  • UCLA Coach John Wooden (Author of “Manage Yourself First”)
  • Commander Abrashoff:  USS Benfold ~ Author of “Get Your Ship Together
  • Benjamin Franklin (fascinating founder, entrepreneur, self-made millionaire)
  • Nathan Myhrvold (Former CTO of Microsoft, Co-founder of Intellectual Ventures)
  • Dave Kelly (Founder IDEO – Palo Alto, CA. – Imagine & Create 90 new products quarterly)
  • Peter Drucker (Author, Thought Leader)
  • Copa Airlines ~ (Panama City, Panama) 90% “On Time” Rate
  • Warren Buffett ~ Acquired $23B McLane Company (subsidiary of Walmart) with no extensive paperwork drill (completed transaction in less than a month)
  • Muhammad Yunus ~ 2006 Nobel Prize Winner, Micro Credit Entrepreneur and founder of “Village Bank” in Bangladesh – Author of “Economics of Poverty”
  • Pierre Midyar ~ New York Hot Dog Vendor who doubled his business volume/profits by allowing customers to “make their own change!”
  • Steven M.R. Covey ~ Author of Speed of Trust

Some interesting quotes from materials/videos across the morning and afternoon session:

“Unstoppable teams are unified by singular purpose of vision and commitment”

“Keeping people requires trust and engagement of employees”

“’Rebels/Quitters’ aren’t hired that way”

“EVERYONE on a team has the power to help the team win or lose”

“See alternatives, not roadblocks”

“Obsessing about things which you have no control over begins to affect the things which you do have control over.”

“Ability will get you to the top, character will keep you there!”

“Adversity reveals a person’s true character.”

“The devil is in the details, success is in the systems”

13 Behaviors that instill trust:

Talk Straight                                        Practice Accountability
Demonstrate Respect                      Listen First
Create Transparency                       Confront Reality
Right Wrongs                                      Clarify Expectations
Show Loyalty                                      Keep Commitments
Deliver Results                                   Extend Trust
Get Better

I really enjoyed the both sessions and would attend others if they were available.  Both of the sessions had great discussion prompts, guides, templates and tools in the small books provided.  The videos were excellent and supported the material exceptionally well.  Each of the books has a “Top 25” book list for managers/leaders.

I was especially inspired by the video of the IDEO team using their teams and methodologies for improving upon the shopping cart.  The team consisted of a diverse group of professionals from a variety of academic backgrounds.  They used basic principles of trust and acceptance—no bad ideas—no criticisms.  They all practiced the art of visualizing success in open “free thinking” forums.

The inspiring message from the Copa Airlines video was that they developed a company mantra, “On Time!”   This message permeated through all levels/layers of the company—cascading goals and objectives of the company to all workers.  Here’s a quote from one of the workers who took tickets from passengers before boarding:  “We used to just do our jobs…now we all do whatever it takes to get the job done.”  Their entire company celebrates when they meet their goals—truly a team/family culture.

There is quite a collection of tools like the “Five Minute Meeting Planner” in each of the books they provided.



Eternal Optimist, Writer, Music Lover, Avid Gardener, Science & Tech Admirer, Cook, Baker and Social Networking Encourager

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