7 Habits of an Ineffective Company

When I grew up, my dad introduced me early on to the concepts that were introduced in the book written by Stephen Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  If you haven't heard of this book, I highly recommend it!  The principles taught are invaluable and universal, and truly move your actions forward as a human being.  That is, unless  you're the founder of the company that teaches it.  Boo. You first need to understand one of the pulls of this company is the organization system he teaches.  We'll call it ABC-123 for short.  It's a unique and effective way to put first things first.  There's also a mission statement creation, big picture goals, planning and solitude sessions, all in support of putting first things first.  Everything that comes out Franklin Covey is based around this philosophy of ABC-123.

Here is where the Franklin Covey company really messed things up.  They have twice put out two pieces of VERY shoddy software.  The first I experienced was PlanPlus for Outlook.  They hired some programmers/developers to create an overlay extension for Outlook that would recreate Outlook in a Franklin Covey friendly way.  While they essentially managed to complete the task, the overall result was slow, buggy, unstable, and not easy to use.  Additionally, it did not have an acceptable mobile synced version.  It was quite a surprise to me that they would put out such subpar software.  After years of experience with this company, though, I was sure this was a fluke, first time situation.  They have since come out with 4 or 5 more versions, all just as frustrating, but less frustrating, than the first.  It's sad, really.

The ABC-123 method is like a drug.  It works, so I keep coming back to it, but PlanPlus sucked, so I kept dropping it.  Off, on, off, on, off, new version, off, new version, off, on off.  For years.  7 years after the first edition, they finally come out with a version of Franklin Covey for iPhone and iPod Touch called FCTasks!  Well, here it is AGAIN!  The software is buggy, does not sync, crashes, and slow.  Are you KIDDING ME??

Even worse, the app store for has a place where you can review the software and give a star rating from 1 to 5.  Out of the 20 latest reviews, the app has an average of 1.95 stars!!!!  Most of them are appeals to Franklin Covey, professing their love for the company but out of complete frustration for the faulty software they downloaded for $5.  No updates in one year from Franklin Covey and not a word coming from them about what's happening in the future.  And they refuse to take it off the app store.  Weird!!!

This time, I decide to do whatever it takes to get the message across, so I call Franklin Covey on every phone number I can.  After finally getting past the Indian phone centers, I got a hold of Travis, a customer service employee in the USA!  All said and done, there was NO SOLUTION to my problem (because it is faulty coding) and NO REFUNDS.  Tragic.  Travis couldn't have been nicer about it, but that doesn't make it okay.

It is a sad state of affairs from a company that promotes the 7 Habits:  being proactive, beginning with the end in mind, putting first things first, thinking win/win, seeking first to understand, then be understood, synergize, and sharpening the saw.  Fix the program.  Or at least do the right thing and acknowledge that you have a problem on your hands.