Avatar photo

Stephen Covey, Interdependence & the Deeper FACTS

A week or so ago Ian and I presented the keynote at the West Midlands Ambulance Service organisational development conference. Our theme was ‘Building collaboration one conversation at a time’. Afterwards over lunch I got into a very interesting chat with a lady who had read our book and had pulled out of it some surprising and insightful snippets.

One of the snippets she relayed to me was that she found a strong parallel between our discussion on interdependence in chapter 10 of the book (‘The Deeper FACTS’) and Stephen Covey’s work as featured in his book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’. With some embarrassment I had to admit that I was not one of the twenty five million people worldwide that has read Covey’s 7 habits. I had heard of one or two of the habits such as ‘sharpen the saw’ and ‘put first things first’ but I had no idea the book dipped into the topic of interdependence. Quickly, I scrambled to catch up downloading a full copy of the Covey’s 7 habits book to my kindle. As I read the first chapter I was fascinated to come across the following eye-opening quotes:-

  • ‘The first three habits surround moving from dependence to independence (i.e., self-mastery), the next three habits have to do with interdependence (i.e., working with others):
  • ‘You cannot continuously improve interdependent systems and processes until you progressively perfect interdependent, interpersonal relationships.’
  • ‘Life is, by nature, highly interdependent. To try to achieve maximum effectiveness through independence is like trying to play tennis with a golf club’
  • ‘Dependent people need others to get what they want. Independent people can get what they want through their own effort. Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve their greatest success.’
  • ‘Interdependence is a choice only independent people can make’

Covey summed it all up in the diagram below which is a picture that speaks a thousand words. I kick myself that Ian and I did not reference his work on this topic in chapter 10 of our book and I mark it down as another tweak we will be making should we get to a second edition. The least I can do now somewhat belatedly is to ‘doff my cap’ to this great man of faith who pioneered and pointed the way for others to follow (even blindly!). Stephen Covey. Bless you. Bless your 7 habits.

What does it mean to you to move from independence to interdependence? Let us know your thoughts via the LinkedIn challenging coaching group

covey 7 habits

Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits