DiCarlo: In your book, Principle Centered Leadership, you suggest that revolutionary change is now taking place in every industry and profession-a "metamorphosis" in your terms. Can you identify what lies at the heart of this profound shift in world view?
Covey: It usually involves a great deal of interior work, self-awareness, examining your past motives, examining your past scripting, and then realizing, "You are not just that." You have the power to act on the basis of a new vision. You can use more than self-awareness. It involves what I call the four human endowments: self-awareness, imagination, conscience, and will-power. And it's the combination of those four unique endowments that enable people to accommodate the new reality.
DiCarlo: I see. Well, could you explain what you mean by each?
Covey: Self-awareness is basically the fact that you can stand apart from yourself and examine your own mind, your own mood, your own feelings. This means you are not your mind, your moods or your feelings. You have an identity apart from these things.
Also, I really believe the greatest battles we ever fight are those in our own heart-finding what our own true motives are-and that comes out of periods of deep reflection. But the very fact that you can examine means that you can re-script your life.
Imagination, the second human endowment, means that you can create your future. You don't have to predict it, you create it. That's the best way to predict it. You don't have to live out of your memory. Animals have no self-awareness and no imagination. That's why they are totally a product of the past, instinct and/or training. They can't rescript themselves. They have no ability to stand apart. They can think, but they can't think about their thinking.
Third one, conscience, is I think a divine gift given to all of God's children. It is their native sense of right and wrong. It is a moral sense. The more they educate it by studying the great literature, which I think comes from God, the more their conscience becomes the source of their guidance, security, wisdom and their power.
Independent will is just the sheer grit power to swim up-stream, to exercise enormous courage in the face of enormous odds and to make things happen.
Incidentally, it's a huge challenge to change world views, because people's styles, their habits, their emotional food comes from the success of the past paradigm. To move into this new paradigm-which the quality movement kind of embodies-involves a tremendous internal revolution. It's not easy, but if people don't make it, they won't accommodate the new world. It's a new day, and nothing fails like success. But people have to deal with that internally, and usually their approach is, "Other people should change" and "the problem is out there."
DiCarlo: Yes, there's this false sense of complacency in which people don't want to move out of their comfort zones.
Covey: People don't do anything until they experience pain. It's too bad the pain of conscience isn't sufficient, but it isn't. In most cases, it takes the pain of circumstance. And that humbles them, and then they become open, and then they tend to unfreeze old paradigms, and look for new ways of thinking. Sometimes they don't look for new ways of thinking at all. They just look for new techniques. But you see, we're not just talking about some new techniques. We're talking about a fundamental transformation. Many individuals don't want that to happen. They just want to learn some new techniques.
Ironically, if they use their old thinking with new techniques, then the bottom-line gets worse, not better.