Improving Performance: Integrating Stephen Covey’s Ideas in Video
Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at 08:29AM
Thomas Clifford in fast company, performance, stephen covey

“Most of your team members want to make a valued contribution– to find purpose in their work.” Stephen R. Covey.

I’m in the middle of reading Stephen Covey’s new book, “Predictable Results in Unpredictable Times.” Being a Covey fan for nearly 20 years, I can tell you this book is another winner. While it’s only 94 pages, the book is jam-packed with simple yet powerful ideas. It’s co-written by Bob Whitman, FranklinCovey’s CEO.

“How can I get more people to do the things we already know how to do?”
Great question, isn’t it? Covey’s question grabbed me because this is where business videos excel. Let me explain it through the eyes of Covey.

It’s a simple fact of life
Some people and teams within organizations work extremely well; say about 20% (to the right of the middle). Some under-perform; another 20% (those on the left side). The rest fall in the middle- roughly 60%. That 60% could easily move to the right, towards excellence– if only they knew how.

Covey suggests that one of the most effective ways a leader can improve the performance of people and teams is to “move the middle” “righter and tighter,” towards higher performance. Can you imagine the outcomes if just 5% or 10% of your teams started moving to the right towards higher performance?

But how do you move “the middle” to the right?
Covey suggests two steps :
1. Identify islands of excellence
2. Ask the team how to improve performance

1. Identify islands of excellence
Every organization has top performers and top teams. Identify them. Visit and talk to them. Find out what they are doing that sets them apart. Ask these top performers to share their success stories. Finally, invite these people to mentor “the middle.”

2. Ask the team how to improve performance
Start generating success stories from “the middle” instead of focusing on their failures. Get input from the team members on ways they can improve key performance areas. Involving the team on a consistent basis by setting new goals can go a long way to moving them to the right.

What’s all this have to do with video?
Using these two steps, you now have a template to create a series of video success stories to drive “the middle” “righter and tighter.”

Video template: Produce two short videos

1. Video #1 Identify islands of excellence
Let’s say you’ve identified a team that really shines. Spend a few hours capturing on-camera interviews with the team members. Capture their success stories. Capture their emotions. Video reigns supreme when showing emotions so capture the team’s passion and let’s see what makes them so successful.

2. Video #2 Ask the team how to improve performance
Spend another few hours capturing the high performance team mentoring a team in “the middle.” Interview team members from “the middle” so the audience can see and hear how they’re stuck and how intend to move forward. Let’s see how mentoring in action can tap into the greatness of a team and propel them forward.

Now you have a glimpse into answering Covey’s question:
“How can I get more people to do the things we already know how to do?”


Article originally appeared on B2B Copywriter | Hartford, CT (
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