“No question that beliefs and attitudes need to change, but unless there is also a shift in governance—namely how we distribute power and privilege and the control of money—the efforts will be more cosmetic than enduring.” –Peter Block
Peter Block’s, Stewardship: Choosing Service Over Self-Interest, is a compelling call for those in power to revisit the way they choose to govern. Block calls for radical reform in the way institutions are organized, the way they distribute power, and how they compensate employees.
Block says true service is clouded by self-interest and that many institutions never reach their full potential because the individuals that govern the organization often seek to fulfill their own self-gratifying natures. He goes on to say that authentic service is only experienced when there is a balance of power, a commitment to the greater good, buy-in in organizational purpose, and a fair and balanced reward system.
The book is broken down into three parts. Part I: “Trading Your Kingdom for a Horse,” explores the basic concepts of stewardship and restrictions on leaders; Part II: “The Redistribution of Power, Purpose and Wealth,” discusses this leadership model in greater detail; and Part III: “The Triumph of Hope Over Experience,” is the practical application portion and discusses in greater detail how to implement the model.
Block also discusses institutions that have already applied the stewardship organization model and details some of the successes they have had working in an effort to move from self-serving work to greater stewardship.