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Stewardship by Peter Block
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Stewardship by Peter Block
Paperback $26.95
May 20, 2013 | ISBN 9781609948221

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  • May 20, 2013 | ISBN 9781609948221

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“An original and profound new view on how to run organizations…Block transcends all extant leadership literature.”
—Library Journal

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,, 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

Table Of Contents

Foreword by Steven Piersanti

Introduction to the Second Edition:
What Has Changed?
It’s a Digital World
What Is Good for Business Is Good for the World
Side Effects
Goods We Can Build Upon

1 Replacing Leadership with Stewardship
Something more is required
The essence of Stewardship
Choosing Partners
Choosing Empowerment
Choosing Service
We Don’t Act on What We Know
The Leadership Question
The Underbelly of Leadership
The Stewardship Answer
Three Organizational Challenges

2 Choosing Partnership over Patriarchy
Creating Order
Distributing Ownership and Responsibility
Partnership as the Alternative
Balancing Power
Four Requirements of Partnership

3 Choosing Adventure over Safety
The Wish for Safety
Entitlement Is Empowerment Run Aground
Choosing Empowerment
Stewardship Begins at Home

4 Choosing Service over Self-Interest
A Model of Stewardship
Teaching Revolution to the Ruling Class
The Realm of Management
Rank without Privilege
Connecting the Heart and the Wallet
The Point

A Case Study: Sometime Later in the Week

5 Defining the Stewardship Contract
Principles for the Practice
The Stewardship Contract
Life in the Balance

6 Upsetting Expectations: The Emotional Work of Stewardship
The Trail Is Inside Out
Facing the Wish for Dependency and Dominance
Freedom’s Just Another Word for Escape from Freedom
Unstated Emotional Wants: Breaking the Pattern
Just Say No
I want my mentor

7 Redesigning Management Practices and Structures
Full Disclosure
Management Practices
Changing Basic Architecture
Boss as Banker and Broker

8 Rethinking the Role of Staff Functions
In the Service of Top Management
Police and Conscience to the Line
Mandated Supplier
Mandated Services
Offering Choice and Building Capability
Service Guarantee

9 Financial Practices: Creating Accountability with Self-Control
The Money Is about control
Building Widespread Financial Stewardship
Living within the Law

10 Human Resources: Ending the Practice of Paternalism
Institutional Caretaker
A New Purpose and Role
The Structure of Human Resources
Human Resource Practices That Support Stewardship

11 Compensation and Performance Evaluation: Overturning the Class System
The Divine Right of Kings
Pay Reinforces Class Distinctions
Performance Not for Sale
Rank Individualism
Confusing Boss Evaluations with Performance
Pay for Empire
Reward Systems That Support Stewardship
The End of Caretaking

12 Cosmetic Reform: When the Disease Becomes the Cure
nothing is next
The Open Office
Patriarchy Recreating Itself

13 Recreating Our Organization through Stewardship
Stewardship Strategy for Political Reform
Steps toward Political Reform
A Case Study Continued: The Answer to the Power Company Story, “Sometime Later in the Week”

14 Cynics, Victims and Bystanders
The Power of the Cynic
Rescuing the Victim
Facts Won’t Help
Treating Caution as a Choice

15 The Answer to “How?”
“How?” Is a Defense

16 Stewardship for the Common Good
The Business Perspective
The Point
Designed Learning
The Author
The Artist

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