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Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Covey's View of the Ages

In his chapter on "The Problem", Covey points out that we are transitioning from an Industrial Age paradigm focused on things to a Knowledge Worker Age which is increasingly focused on people. In the Industrial Age the primary drivers were machines and capital and the focus was on managing or properly controlling people.

Covey feels that in the Knowledge Worker Age we will outproduce the Industrial Age fifty times. And the key to that is by unleashing the phenomenal potential in every individual and turning them into leaders. He quotes Nathan Myhrvold, former CTO of Microsoft as saying that top software developers can be more productive than average developers by a factor of up to 10,000X. I am not sure how he measures this, but in my own experience I have seen what might be quantified as 100X better productivity and I could believe getting up to 1,000X, depending again on how it is measured.

Although Covey is focused on the Knowledge Worker Age in the 8th Habit, he does talk about the historical phase to follow, which will be the Age of Wisdom where the essence of leadership will be to be a servant leader. Covey is uncanny on how often his teachings reflect traditional Jewish Philosophy, considering that he has not included the Talmud and other major Jewish Philosophical works in his research. In future posts, I will try to point out some of the perceived differences between Covey and Jewish Thought.