At the annual conference of the National College for School Leadership, Covey Jnr held 1,500 school leaders entranced as he outlined "the economic case for trust".
Heads were asked to examine the example of entrepreneur Warren Buffet, who can wind up a deal in less than a month. Later, signed copies of Mr Covey's book, The Speed of Trust, were flying out. But not everyone was convinced.
"I agreed with what he was saying," said one primary head, after the 45-minute talk. "I just think he could have said it in fewer words."