26 October 2009

"Schumpeter" on The Three Habits of ...

... highly irritating management gurus
A few days ago I read this patronizing article in The Economist’s Schumpeter column (to know why the column is called “Schumpeter”, read here)
Now I’m silly enough to operate on the principle that if something works, why complain? I continue to feel that Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits – while they may have become clichéd from (well-deserved) overuse – can actually be used to make the world a better place.
Most people I know don’t do their jobs as well as they could (and should); don’t relate well with their families, don’t manage their finances or look after their health – etc. etc. So while I do empathise with the “Schumpeter” annoyance at this listing of habits, I also believe that a little attention to one’s actions would make one more effective (a la Covey), more happy, and generally improve the state of the world. On the other hand, mocking Covey and others like him might make readers of “Schumpeter” feel good for a short while, but isn’t going to actually improve anything for anyone.

In January 2009, I interviewed Stephen Covey for Sunday Mid-day amongst surroundings that I may or may not write about, squirming, in my memoirs at the age of 98.
For the time being, I will just say that it was a disappointing experience.
Only later did I realize that I had been expecting to hear amazing words of wisdom from The Great Guru Covey. But what he told me was stuff he’d always been saying and which I’d read and practiced (oh how virtuous I am) for 20 years.

So Stephen Covey rah rah rah, and if you can bear to read any more,
my Sunday Mid-day interview is right here.

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