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2010 News Releases

Longwood establishes leadership training center based on "7 Habits of Highly Effective People"

April 5, 2010

Tom DeWitt, President and CEO of SNVC, Class of 1980 Tom DeWitt, President and CEO of SNVC, Class of 1980

The old adage, "the third time is a charm," held true recently as the Longwood University College of Business and Economics dedicated the SNVC Institute for Leadership Values following two attempts earlier in the year that were canceled due to snow and ice.

The SNVC Institute for Leadership Values will offer training in the principles pioneered by Dr. Stephen R. Covey, whose book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has sold more than 20 million copies in 38 languages since its first publication in 1989. The Institute is a partnership among Longwood, SNVC, an information technology company, and FranklinCovey, a leadership development, assessment, and consulting services firm.

Dr. Paul Barrett, dean of the College of Business and Economics (CBE), orchestrated a ribbon-cutting following a reception and program on March 23 that featured keynote speaker G. Gilmer Minor, chairman of Owens & Minor Inc. and comments by Shawn Moon, general manager for government and education services, FranklinCovey; and Longwood alumnus Tom Dewitt, president and CEO of SNVC.  "This is a campus wide initiative," said Minor.  "It has the potential to reach across campus and eventually the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond."

"This is the first-ever university-based full training center for FranklinCovey in Virginia," said Dr. Paul Barrett, dean of CBE. "These are universal principles that are internationally famous and are used by many organizations, including the Department of Defense. We know these principles foster effectiveness, by which we mean a successful product or service in which the measures of success occur over and over. The seven habits are the ingredient to that success."

Training will be done for Longwood faculty and staff at least once an academic year and possibly every semester. Most of the sessions - some are two days, others three days ­- will be held on campus, though some might be held in Richmond or Northern Virginia. For organizations wanting the training outside of Longwood University, other sessions will be scheduled, and net proceeds from the training (a fee will be charged) will be put into college scholarships. The Institute is patterned most closely after a similar center at California University of Pennsylvania, which Barrett said has helped "radically transform" that institution.

Pictured from left are Bill Baxter, Paul Barrett, Tom DeWitt, Shawn Moore, G. Gilmer Minor, Cheryl Davis, Wayne McWee, and Jim Haug
On the Cutting Edge
Pictured from left are Bill Baxter, Paul Barrett, Tom DeWitt, Shawn Moon, G. Gilmer Minor, Cheryl Davis, Wayne McWee, and Jim Haug.

Some 46 Longwood faculty members and administrators and two SNVC staff members attended a training session Jan. 4-6 that was hosted by CBE. Some 10 of the Longwood participants were then invited to attend a leadership training session Jan. 28-29 that enabled them to become certified to teach the program. All 10 are faculty members, primarily from CBE but from across campus as well.

"Over time all Longwood faculty and staff will be trained," Barrett said. "The training in January was for middle-management and above, but the next training, in May, will feature people from higher and lower levels. Synergy is one of the seven habits, so we want people in the training from diverse strata, which makes for a better one-campus, one-team approach.  This is a widely important mission to build citizen leaders everywhere."  Also, Dr. Ken Perkins will begin to train Longwood Seminar (LSEM, a mandatory course for all new students, overseen by Perkins) instructors and will inject the seven habits into LSEM. The overall idea is that we will train students on values and effectiveness, and we will also train values-based organizations that want to hire those students, and let them meet in the middle."

In addition to training Longwood faculty and staff, the Institute's mission will include outreach to high schools. "I've met with the superintendents, and they're excited," Barrett said. "We'll start with principals and guidance counselors, then eventually work with teachers and students. In this manner, we will get young people early and have them take on the seven habits for a lifetime of success. We realize it's a stretch goal, but ultimately over time we want the Commonwealth of Virginia to be a recognized leader for high standards for highly effective people and their values."  During the dedication program, FranlinCovey's Shawn Moon agreed about outreach to young people.  "Can the seven habits apply to younger people...Yes!"

G. Gilmer Minor, CEO, Owens & Minor
G. Gilmer Minor, CEO, Owens & Minor

The Institute has three co-directors who also participated in the ribbon cutting and who will direct a division based on their respective expertise. They are Bill Baxter, director of the McGaughy Professional Development Center, who will handle the for-profit division; Cheryl Davis, senior lecturer in computer information management systems, who will lead the education division; and Dr. Jim Haug, assistant professor of management, who will oversee the nonprofit and government agencies division.

"We received a sizable donation from SNVC to name and sponsor the Institute," Barrett said. "SNVC staff members will be trained each time, and eventually all of their employees will be trained."

The "brainchild" behind Longwood's involvement in this effort, said Barrett, was Claire LaRoche, associate professor of business law.

"My daughter, Julia, introduced me to The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens when she was in high school," said LaRoche. "She said 'Mom, you really ought to read this book...it's great!' I read the book and thought it would be a wonderful addition to my Longwood Seminar class. I became a certified facilitator for the seven habits collegiate program almost five years ago. I searched for training opportunities on the Internet and found a certification course for The 7 Habits of Highly Effective College Students in Raleigh, North Carolina. I have been using this as the framework for my Longwood Seminar classes. For the past five years, I've wanted to bring the seven habits to Longwood, but given budget constraints, I knew it would be a challenge.

Shawn Moon, General Manager for Government and Education Services, FranklinCovey
Shawn Moon, General Manager for Government and Education Services, FranklinCovey

"Last summer I attended an education summit sponsored by FranklinCovey and California University of Pennsylvania (Cal U). I realized that The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People could create a 'win-win' at Longwood, actually a win-win-win-win. By offering the course to the public, like Cal U, we could raise money for scholarships; create a win for businesses; and positively impact the lives of faculty, students, staff and alumni and also promote citizen leadership, and by becoming a training center, we will spread the message of the seven habits: a win for FranklinCovey. After the summit, I approached Dean Barrett about bringing an expanded version of the Cal U model to Longwood, and he said he could help make this happen. This never would have been possible without the tireless efforts of Paul Barrett and the generous support of Tom DeWitt and SNVC."

"The Seven Habits of Highly Effective College Students" is one of four training programs in the series. The others are "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," the signature course; "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens"; and "The Leader in Me," for ages pre-kindergarten through pre-teens.

"The seven habits will change your life," Barrett said. "It's a very powerful set of tools. It's particularly timely these days with the ethical breakdowns in business and life; there's been a tidal wave in the breakdown of values. The principles that many of us grew up with in the 1940s and '50s have been diffused. The only way to fix these breakdowns is education. The seven habits are based on integrity. We're bringing in and building relationships with organizations that operate on the seven habits values system, we're looking at ethics in curricula, and last spring the College of Business and Economics adopted a values statement, which is very similar to the seven habits. At a recent lunch meeting of the Better Business Bureau of Virginia, in Richmond, in which the topic was 'Ethics in Business,' the College of Business and Economics was featured.

Barrett cited two companies that operate on seven habits-type principles: Owens & Minor Inc., based in Mechanicsville, with which CBE has had a relationship for several years, and Frito-Lay, headquartered in Dallas. "Not surprisingly," Barrett said, "both of these values-based companies have seen record high revenue and profits even during this great recession. These types of firms are proof that you can do the right thing and make money doing it."

Barrett also pointed out that CBE students and faculty on Jan. 19 attended Owens & Minor's "Cultural Orientation Day," and G. Gilmer Minor, the company's chairman of the board, who was an executive-in-residence at Longwood in 2004, has been involved in discussions leading to the SNVC Institute for Leadership Values. Al Carey, president and CEO of Frito-Lay North America, will speak at Longwood in September 2010 on the topic of the "speed of trust" as part of the executive-in-residence series in Longwood's business school. Also, CBE is exploring internships with the Better Business Bureau of Virginia through a relationship Barrett has with its CEO, Tom Gallagher.

"The revenues and profits of companies that operate on these principles continue to climb," Barrett said. "Why? Because people trust them. If you operate by these rules, you generate trust. It's also important to have a win-win outcome. You have to make sure that others win, which generates trust."

"We're helping to establish this Institute because at SNVC we embrace and value leadership," said DeWitt, a 1980 Longwood graduate who co-founded SNVC in 1998, two years after retiring from the Army following a 16-year career in which he attained the rank of major.  "The Institute will be based on three principles," DeWitt said during the dedication program.  "We must have synergy, we must have partnerships, and we must have a commitment to education.  Tonight we begin to make a difference in our part of the Commonwealth." 

SNVC, based in Fairfax, provides technical expertise ranging from program management support to technical and engineering services. A wholly owned subsidiary, CDS Telecom, provides managed telecommunication services to the federal government. Most of SNVC's 86 employees reside and work in the Washington, D.C., area. A seven-member SNVC team supports a client in Sierra Vista, Ariz. The firm is owned by veterans, and its biggest customer is the Department of the Army.

"We have always been firmly grounded in three corporate values: leadership, integrity, and commitment," said Beth Miller-Herholtz, SNVC's vice president for corporate communications. "We instill integrity throughout our business practices, and most importantly, in our business partnerships. This partnership with Longwood University and FranklinCovey is a testament to staying committed to an ideal, operating with integrity, and leading toward a brighter future."

DeWitt served on the Longwood Board of Visitors from 2005 to 2009, and previously he was a member of CBE's Corporate Advisory Board. DeWitt, commissioned in Longwood's first class of ROTC graduates, returned to campus in 1987 and taught in the ROTC program for two years. His wife, Cindy, is a 1989 Longwood graduate.

FranklinCovey was formed when the Covey Leadership Center, founded by Stephen Covey, merged with Franklin Quest in 1997. The company, based in a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah, and with offices in 123 countries, describes itself as "a global leader in effectiveness training, productivity tools, strategy execution and assessment services for organizations and individuals."