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The concept of stewardship means choosing service over self-interest, in order to improve all areas of organizational governance and management. The book covers redesigning management practices, roles of staff groups, budgetary and financial practices, human resource practices, pay and performance appraisal systems. By replacing self-interest, dependency, and control with service, responsibility, and partnership, Block believes we can increase productivity and enable democracy and economic success to thrive in our organizations.
“Stewardship is one of those books that permanently changes how you think. It obliterates the wall between good business and ethical business…Get better business results, change the world, and save your soul with a single book.”
—Gifford Pinchot III, cofounder and President, Bainbridge Graduate Institute
“The most insightful analyst of what ails organizations has written a very timely update of his book Stewardship. With America’s newest civic generation, millennials, now flooding the world of work, Block offers a system of governance that captures that generation’s need for ‘service over self-interest.’”
—Morley Winograd, coauthor, with Mike Hais, of Millennial Momentum
“The new edition of Stewardship is an absolute must-read for anyone interested in building sustainable businesses, organizations, and communities. [Block’s] ideas create more engaged organizations, which are better for people, the environment, and business.”
—Brian Camastral, CEO, Riversong Sanctuary; cofounder, BLITS Foundation; and former Global President, Mars Food
“Be forewarned: this is a scary read. In the twenty years I have been engaged in collaborative leadership programs, Peter has been a go-to author for challenging the theory and practice of leadership. In this second edition of Stewardship, Peter leaves us nowhere to hide as he takes an in-depth look at what it truly means to lead from the heart in a culture driven by accountability, metrics, and control. Every ‘yes but’ I raised is countered with examples, metaphors, skillful explanation, case studies, quotes, practical suggestions, and Peter’s trademark creativity and faith in our ability to do the right thing for the common good.”
—Anne J. Udall, Trustee, American Leadership Forum (ALF); former Director, Charlotte Region Chapter, ALF; and Vice Chair, Udall Foundation
“Like Robert Greenleaf before him, Peter Block’s voice is that of a contemporary prophet. This revised edition of Stewardship is one of the best books ever written. It serves as a powerful source of hope and encouragement for servant-leaders everywhere.”
—Larry C. Spears, coauthor of Insights on Leadership, The Spirit of Servant-Leadership, and Fortuitous Encounters
“Over the past forty years, through Stewardship and other seminal works, Peter Block has articulated the course required for effective leadership in the 21st century. If only more managers and leaders from every sector took note and practiced the principles of stewardship—productivity would rise, people would be healthier, local community life would be flourishing, and the spirit of democracy would be enlivened worldwide. His message is that essential and that scalable.”
—Lynn Luckow, President and CEO, LikeMinded.org, and former President and CEO, Craigslist Foundation
“Stewardship is love in action. It is time for our organizations to rethink how they exercise power and control. In our changing country and world, our capacity for stewardship may be what ultimately saves our democracy and models accountability and freedom, in their real sense, for the rest of the world. As usual, Peter Block points us in the direction of our better selves, living out a better future.”
—Sayra Pinto, Principal, Matriz Coaching & Consulting
“This is one of those very rare anomalies: a second edition that is more essential and timely than the first. It spotlights our current dysfunctionalities—such as the literal looting of so many of our organizations by self-serving top levels—and how far we have actually regressed from a pattern of commitment to service and healthy work environments in most corporations. It’s impossible to read this book and then continue to look at current organizational processes as (desirable) ‘business as usual.’”
—Fritz Steele, organizational and environmental consultant and coauthor of The Arrogant Leader
“As with his other books, the second edition of Stewardship forces the reader to rethink basic assumptions about leadership and change in organizations. Peter always challenges my thinking and offers a perspective that I have never found elsewhere. He makes espoused values come alive. Leading in the way Peter describes requires courage, a virtue missing in many of today’s organization leaders. Peter’s unique ability to pinpoint the true source of power and confront the reader in a way that cuts through defenses makes reading Stewardship a true learning and growth experience.”
—Cliff Bolster, Leadership and Learning Consultant, Bolster & Associates, Inc.
“Peter Block is one of the most provocative and iconoclastic thinkers we have on the topics of leadership, business, and organizational design. His insights are still fresh and razor sharp, and he expresses them in a singular, poetic style. The new edition of this foundational text extends the scope of his insights to meet the challenges that have arisen in the last twenty years and shows how to create not just productive and humane workplaces but vibrant communities, an engaged democracy, and a healthy planet.”
—Toni A. Gregory, EdD, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, PhD Program in Interdisciplinary Studies, Union Institute & University
“Peter Block’s second edition of Stewardship is even more provocative than the first edition was twenty years ago because we are more fearful about our economic and personal well-being than ever before. Block helps us see our own complicity and interconnectedness with all that goes on around us and, with this updated edition, will help a new generation learn that the way to find meaning and purpose in life is to form partnerships for the common good, empower each other through human understanding, and together, build competent societies.”
—Frances Strickland, PhD, President, Smith Educational Enterprises
|Pt. 1||Trading Your Kingdom for a Horse||1|
|1||Replacing Leadership With Stewardship||3|
|2||Choosing Partnership Over Patriarchy||23|
|3||Choosing Adventure Over Safety||33|
|4||Choosing: Service Over Self-Interest||41|
|Pt. II||The Redistribution of Power, Purpose, and Wealth||53|
|5||Defining the Stewardship Contract||63|
|6||Upsetting Expectations: The Emotional Work of Stewardship||75|
|7||Redesigning Management Practices and Structures||91|
|8||Rethinking the Role of Staff Functions||115|
|9||Financial Practices: Creating Accountability With Self-Control||135|
|10||Human Resources: Ending the Practice of Paternalism||147|
|11||Compensation and Performance Evaluation: Overturning the Class System||161|
|Pt. III||The Triumph of Hope over Experience||183|
|12||Cosmetic Reform: When the Disease Becomes the Cure||185|
|13||Recreating Our Organization Through Stewardship||203|
|14||Cynics, Victims, and Bystanders||221|
|15||Choosing Freedom, Service, and Adventure||233|
|Lost and Found||243|
Posted May 25, 2013
"Stewardship is accountability without control or compliance." (Peter Block) This is one dangerous statement ...
For whatever reasons, I did not read Peter Block's work on servant leadership when it was first published in 1993 and quickly became a best-seller. As I am finally introduced to his powerful and unsettling ideas, I wonder how it ever became so popular. His message seems almost revolutionary and definitely has the seeds of great upheaval within.
Consider Block's main messages, which I am experiencing so far as:
*Leadership (as we understand and experience it) is not the answer, but part of what gets in the way.
*To do good, we have to give up control, which is at the heart of most management thinking.
*Compliance is not the goal, because people need to "act on their own choices."
*Genuine service includes "a balanced and equitable distribution of rewards".
Block has revised and updated Stewardship to mark the official relaunch of this fascinating book. Based on what I have read so far, Stewardship will be a book to enjoy, share, and return to often.
Block's goal, in writing this book is audacious in a very exciting way: "... to translate these ideas about power, community, purpose, and privilege into a whole strategy for governing our companies and institutions."
Block is no wide-eyed dreamer. His head may be up there in the clouds, but he recognizes the reality of the marketplace. To create a true service orientation throughout an organization is not that difficult. To do so and keep the lights on and the people paid is not.
With the emphasis on service, this man is speaking to my heart ...
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review. My opinions are my own and freely given without regard or restriction.
Peter Block is a global bestselling author and consultant. His work is about empowerment, stewardship, chosen accountability, and the reconciliation of community. He is a partner in Designed Learning, a training company that offers workshops designed by Peter to build the skills outlined in his books. His bestselling book, Stewardship has just been re-released in a 20th Anniversary, Revised and Extended Edition with a foreword by Steven Piersanti.