Proposed Franklin Covey Synthesis



by Luke Setzer


Since the origins of the human conceptual consciousness, people have sought out methods and principles for living successfully on this planet. Both philosophers and religious leaders have generally served the role of generating and disseminating these codes of ethics to the masses. In recent history, the rise of free-market capitalism has led to the promotion of these principles through profit-oriented, productive, world-wide corporations. Two of the most well-known marketers of success principles, FranklinQuest and the Covey Leadership Center, have been striving since the early 1990s to merge their planning tools into a single format. The leaders of each organization, Hyrum W. Smith of FranklinQuest and Stephen R. Covey of the Covey Leadership Center, felt that their respective enterprises could eventually reach the point of synergy. At that juncture, a merger could bring long-range results greater than the results the companies could produce working separately. That point came in 1997 when the associations joined to become the Franklin Covey company.

The synergy comes from the benefits that each company brings to the merger. The world-famous FranklinQuest has earned a huge international customer base, while Covey Leadership Center offers some outstanding training seminars that vastly deepen some of the concepts currently taught by FranklinQuest. Together, the "broadness" of FranklinQuest's customer base combined with the "depth" of Covey Leadership Center's seminars open a vast ocean of new opportunities into which the merged companies can scoop.

The 1998 catalog features a revamped set of day planner pages for both the Franklin Day Planner and the Covey Seven Habits Planner that serve as an intermediate step to what in 1999 will likely be an identical format for all future printings of daily planning pages.

After that, the models of effectiveness offered by each of the two previous companies remain to be merged. Since its origins in the 1980s, FranklinQuest has taught the powerful Productivity Pyramid metaphor as a paradigm for evaluating, prioritizing, and scheduling tasks and appointments. Meanwhile, Covey Leadership Center has offered the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People paradigm as well as other foundational principles to serve as an intellectual "compass" for individuals to guide themselves.

This web site offers a proposed merger of these models based on their common characteristics. Readers unfamiliar with these models should read The Ten Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management by Hyrum W. Smith and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.


How can these seemingly disparate models be consolidated? Both offer workable solutions to daily challenges in dealing with tasks and people. Here is my proposal for the levels of a Franklin Covey Productivity Pyramid along with the corresponding steps of life planning. The bold, italicized steps represent the steps already part of the Covey weekly organizing procedure. Note: Levels 0a, 1, and 1a together form what I consider to be the ideal structure of a Personal Constitution. To see my own as an example, click here.

(what to do at that level)
0 Needs Start
0a Recognition of Needs Recognize Needs
1 Mission Statement Connect to Mission
1a Governing Values Review Governing Values
2 Roles Review Roles
2a Perhaps Lists Review Perhaps Lists
3 Long-Range Goals Identify Goals
3a Intermediate Steps Identify Intermediate Steps
4 Weekly Compass Organize Weekly
5 Daily Tasks Exercise Integrity in the Moment of Choice*
6 Results Evaluate

*Proposed Revision to "The TimeQuest Daily Planning Procedure" (offered as a subroutine for how to "Exercise Integrity in the Moment of Choice"):

  1. Review prior day's Daily Task List for any incomplete activities.
  2. Review prior day's Daily Record of Events page.
  3. Review today's prescheduled events/appointments.
  4. Add appropriate activities or ideas in the Daily Task List, Weekly Compass, Intermediate Steps List, Long-Range Goals List, or Perhaps List.
  5. Prioritize the day's activities according to what is Vital (A), Important (B), Optional (C), or Worthless (D). Remember the difference between vital and urgent (i.e. Quadrant I vs. Quadrant III). Analyze your vital tasks and assign A1, A2, A3, etc. Assign numbers to Bs and Cs as well. Note: See the conversion chart below to equate the Franklin Prioritization System with the Covey Time-Management Matrix. Remember: Focusing on Bs reduces As and eliminates Cs and Ds. In an ideal Quadrant II day, all tasks would be prioritized as Important (B).




I (Covey)

A (Franklin)

(Covey) II

(Franklin) B


III (Covey)

C (Franklin)

(Covey) IV

(Franklin) D


Here, then, is my own proposed proposed Franklin Covey Productivity Pyramid and its related Reality Model:

Note that the major elements of each paradigm are included while retaining the powerful "Productivity Pyramid" metaphor of the original "Generation 3" Franklin Day Planner. The inclusion of the Mission Statement, Roles, Perhaps Lists, Weekly Compass, and Evaluation portions of the Seven Habits Organizer system advance the "Generation 3" FranklinQuest system into the "Generation 4" Covey system, while enhancing the Covey system with the single-model concept.

Below is another translation table comparing and contrasting the "Needs" descriptions in the Franklin Reality Model with those described by Covey as part of his Sharpen the Saw model of "The Fire Within".

Physical To Live To Live
Social/Emotional To Love To Love
Mental To Experience Variety To Learn
Spiritual To Feel Important To Leave a Legacy

This concludes my proposed synthesis of the Franklin Covey life management models.


Objectivism 101
Objectivism 101