“HENRY DAVID THOREAU once wrote, “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.”1 This book is dedicated to striking at the root of the significant problems we face.Excerpt From: Stephen R. Covey. “The 8th Habit.”
We’ve started with the pain; we’ve explored the underlying problem—one that has personal roots and that involves a deeply imbedded paradigm and set of traditions in the workplace. Now let’s set the context for the solution and give an overview of how it will be unfolded in the remainder of the book.”
Most of the great cultural shifts—ones that have built great organizations that sustain long-term growth, prosperity and contribution to the world—started with the choice of one person. Sometimes that one person was the formal leader—the CEO or president. Very often it started with someone else—a professional, a line manager, someone’s assistant. Regardless of their position, these people first changed themselves from the inside out.
Their character, competence, initiative and positive energy—in short, their moral authority—inspired and lifted others. They possessed an anchored sense of identity, discovered their strengths and talents, and used them to meet needs and produce results. People noticed. They were given more responsibility. They magnified the new responsibility and again produced results. More and more people sat up and noticed. Top people wanted to learn of their ideas—how they accomplished so much. The culture was drawn to their vision and to them.
People like this just don’t get sucked into or pulled down for long by all the negative, demoralizing, insulting forces in the organization. And interestingly, their organizations are no better than most organizations. To some degree, they’re all a mess. These people just realize that they can’t wait for their boss or the organization to change. They become an island of excellence in a sea of mediocrity. And it’s contagious.”