Servant Leadership

Leadership: The Journey Through Independence to Interdependence

In his timeless classic, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey introduces a model called the Maturity Continuum. The model describes the three Habits necessary to achieve what Covey calls the Private Victory, which is the shift from dependence to independence, and three Habits which comprise the Public Victory, which is the elevation of a person beyond independence into interdependence.

This is just one of the many groundbreaking concepts found in Dr. Covey’s book, which, I should say, is one of my most highly recommended books for anyone serious about laying a strong foundation for successful personal or professional leadership development. Although Dr. Covey’s teachings represent a wealth of wisdom for anyone interested in improving their effectiveness, at work and at home, I would like to highlight and explore one idea in particular: the distinction and relationship between independence and interdependence.

The Secret to Unleashing your Unlimited Power to Transform

I am a frequent traveler and I have come to value the massive amount of time I spend in airports and on airplanes as my time, to relax, listen to music, read and respond to emails, or watch a movie on my iPad. To that end, I have developed a habit of putting on my “I don’t really want to talk to you” face, and my noise cancelling headphones in case my neighbor is not great at reading my face. I share this at the risk of being judged as anti-social, or two-faced because I claim to love to coach and talk to people, and at the same time I don’t want to be bothered with people sitting next to me on the plane. But, as I have no insecurities about my willingness to spend countless hours coaching people and doing so with undivided attention, I can tell the truth. That’s how I have been acting while traveling. 

The Defining Moments of Culture Transformation

Back in 2011, I delivered a keynote titled, "Leveraging Culture to Transform Organizations" at a manufacturing summit in Chicago. The response from the audience was overwhelming, partly because of the entertainment value, but mainly because the attendees found the topic and content of the presentation relevant, and they wanted more of it. There were close to 30 speakers at that event and only 2-3 of us were talking about culture. Everyone else was presenting on the latest technology, tools, and systems to improve results. Their talks were also relevant, necessary, and in some cases far more sophisticated in content than mine, but much to my surprise, my talk was voted by the audience to be the best of the conference. The warm reception was especially encouraging because for the majority of my 30 year career, I have had to do culture work covertly because most, not all, of my bosses thought it was too touchy feely — until they saw the breakthrough results, of course. It was nice to know there were kindred spirits out there.

Leadership Lessons I Learned from the Dog Whisperer

I didn’t grow up with pets and only came to experience cohabitating with them in my adult life, thanks to my wife. Over the years our kids have had hamsters, pet snakes, and I’m sure other creatures that I have tried to forget about..., but my favorite pets by far have been our dogs, all Dobermans until recently. I have always been fascinated by how my wife has been able to train them to ring a bell to alert us of when they would like to go outside, and how she taught them stay out of certain parts of the house or respond to certain hand motions, and even teach them complex commands as if they understood English. I've tried my hand at getting our dogs to obey my commands and never quite understood why I was not having much success until an important training session with a dog psychologist and trainer a few weeks ago.