Character not personality: why 7-Habits Steven Covey is followed across the globe

7-Habits  author Steven Covey passed away yesterday and it was just  the previous week when a friend and  visiting  Indian CEO mentioned that Steven Covey’s 7 Habits is a great inspiration for him. And this was before the news of Covey’s passing so it led to this post about why Steven Covey’s ideas resonate across countries and cultures.

“Character not personality” is why 7-Habits – Steven Covey is so popular across so many countries in the world. And this popularity is right from the sidewalk bookseller,selling copies of the “7-Habits” which is much harder that zeroing in on the CEO’s of the Fortune 500.  The character ethic got replaced by the personality ethic in America and appearances became more important. But personality is merely the tip of the iceberg and particularly in B2B relationships it is rather easy to find out about the “character” of the buying or selling organization. And when the underlying character of the organization and its members is not well formed and reinforced it shows in B2B relationships and leads to the common trust deficit problem.Trust deficit leads to recruiting multiple suppliers and smaller buy quantities and all kinds of defensive postures by the supplier like quicker payment terms etc.

But why should an old underlying concept like “character” so help the global popularity of  7-Habits? I guess Steven Covey identified this “Character vs Personality” base for the 7 Habits that resonates across cultures,religion and over time. Personality and appearances are important clarifies Covey. Just because it is summer you don’t show up for a formal business meeting in Bermuda shorts ! However, the core character elements that follow from the mission statement ( also product innovation charter ) must receive buy-in from all organizational members. If organization members understand and champion the character principles, it is fairly easy to adjust to changes in terms of mergers. new suppliers or customers, moving across technology leaps like mobile and social media. If your core character and principles are clear and non-negotiable, you should be able to deal with whatever challenge or change comes your way.  RIP Steven  Covey.

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