Stephen M.R. Covey has a specific message for Colorado Springs, and he’s coming here to deliver it.

Covey, CEO of the Covey Leadership Center and son of renowned writer Stephen R. Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” will present “Leading at the Speed of Trust” on Wednesday, Jan. 28, at the Pikes Peak Center.

Presented by the Colorado Springs Leadership Institute, the Colorado Springs Business Journal and Pikes Peak United Way, Covey will discuss “why trust is not a soft, social virtue, but rather a hard-edged, economic driver — a learnable, measurable skill that makes organizations more profitable, people more promotable and relationships more energizing.”

According to Carrie McKee, executive vice president of Pikes Peak United Way, her organization conducted community roundtables and “the most significant theme was trust.”

Pikes Peak United Way’s Cradle to Career efforts, including a task force of community leaders, “were born out of quantitative reports like Quality of Life Indicators for the Pikes Peak Region and more than 50 community conversations where individuals voiced their hopes and aspirations for our community,” according to the Pikes Peak United Way website.

“Before we get anything else done, we have to continue to build trust,” McKee said. “Across all sectors, whether it’s business, government, nonprofits, education.”

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Jim Johnson, co-chair of the Cradle to Career initiative and CEO of GE Johnson Construction Company, said silos have separated the community and do not facilitate trust. But it is an issue that can be remedied, he said.

“We’re not real interested in how we got here. We’re at where we’re at,” Johnson said. “When you have so many people in the boat, it’s nice when we’re rowing in the same direction. Right now we have a bunch of boats going in different directions.”

Johnson said he hopes Covey can provide a framework and timeline regarding trust-building on a community level.

“It’s a huge undertaking,” Johnson said of changing the region’s culture. “It’s not going to be like turning on a light switch. Hopefully we can develop some tools to enable us to get trust back.”

McKee said that during community conversations, people said they felt disconnected.

“It may be a lack of trust in community leadership, or employers or neighbors,” she said. “It may be a matter of just not knowing someone well enough to know if you can trust them.”

McKee said Pikes Peak United Way has its own goals within its Cradle to Career program regarding trust.

“Cradle to Career is about education and making available the skills needed for careers. [There’s a] flipside of that — creating careers and jobs and increasing economic development,” she said. “But those  two parts are not small tasks. We have to engage people and if they see results, that’s when trust will really flourish. People don’t just want to talk, they want to see action, but not action that doesn’t consider them. You can’t do unto a population. First involve them and ask them and then put your plan into play.”

A special Pikes Peak United Way Cradle to Career session and Q&A with Covey will also take place Jan. 28 at the Pikes Peak Center, Studio B, from 3-4:30 p.m. The special session is free, but an RSVP is required. To RSVP, email

If you go

Stephen M.R. Covey, “Leading at the Speed of Trust”

Wednesday, Jan. 28, 6-7:30 p.m.

Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave.

Tickets are $10 a person at the Pikes Peak Center box office or RSVP at 520-7469 or at Additional fees apply to phone or online ticket purchases.