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Stewardship: Choosing Service Over Self Interest [Paperback]

By Peter Block (Author)
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Item description for Stewardship: Choosing Service Over Self Interest by Peter Block...

Goes beyond the spirit of empowerment to discuss the benefits of companies that offer equity and partnership for its employees at all levels, discussing what stewardship means, management accountability, quality control, and human resources. Reprint. 30,000 first printing. $40,000 ad/promo. IP.

Publishers Description
As a successful managing strategy for corporate. governmental, and nonprofit organizations, "stewardship" is, fundamentally, the spirit of partnership and service. Stewardship explains how to integrate the management of work and the doing of work to redistribute purpose and power within an organization.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Pages   264
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.14" Width: 7.08" Height: 0.73"
Weight:   1.16 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 1993
Publisher   Berrett-Koehler Publishers
ISBN  1881052869  
ISBN13  9781881052869  

Availability  0 units.

More About Peter Block

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PETER BLOCK is an author and consultant whose work is about empowerment, stewardship, chosen accountability, and the reconciliation of community. He is the author of several best-selling books, including the first two editions of Flawless Consulting, Stewardship, Community, and The Empowered Manager. He is a partner in Designed Learning, a training company that offers his personally designed workshops that help to build the skills outlined in his books.

Peter Block currently resides in Cincinnati, in the state of Ohio. Peter Block has an academic affiliation as follows - Peter Block Company and Designed Learning Peter Block, Inc. Peter Bloc.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Biographies & Primers > Strategy & Competition
2Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > General
3Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Management & Leadership > Leadership
4Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Management & Leadership > Management
5Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Small Business & Entrepreneurship > Entrepreneurship

Reviews - What do customers think about Stewardship: Choosing Service Over Self Interest?

Unconventional ideas that not everyone will find useful, but great book . . .   Dec 5, 2006
I read this for an MBA class. Most of my classmates did not like this book and did not like the whole concept of servant leadership at all. Block's ideas and the changes he advocates are unconventional, however the book is written very well. I found the book easy to understand, easy to relate to and quite compelling as a result of Block's good use of concrete examples and mini "case studies" within the chapters. He does an effective and commendable job of demonstrating how to implement his ideas into an organization, a piece that is often lacking in books like this. The beginning is a little slow -- it was very theoretical and rather preachy for me.

However, it is a must read for anyone interested in leadership or management. Block's ideas present specific challenges to the old "command and control" corporate mentality that any maverick will find interesting to say the least. In the information age where knowledge workers are becoming an increasingly interesting challenge for leaders/managers, this is a great book in helping someone navigate the changing times.

Overall, the book is quite good -- I'm looking forward to reading more of Block's work as a result!
Choose service over self interest  Aug 10, 2006
This is from my blog which is why it reads this way.

I also read "Stewardship" by Peter Block. This is an excellent business book. The thesis of the book is empower people to make decisions. It also speaks about serving as a method of leadership. It talks about team interests as opposed to self interest (the belief being that a strong team is the best for self interest)

Interesting thesis. Choose serving over self interest because this is in your best self interest.

I agree with much of the thesis of the book although it is somewhat counter culture to our current culture at SYNNEX (and perhaps more close to the EMJ culture, the company I started in 1979 and sold to SYNNEX). A large part of my role at SYNNEX is to help mould culture.

Good culture can make a company succeed or fail. We are not quite where we want to be yet but are moving in the right direction. I know there are frustrations with where we are but I think if people really look at where we are relative to where we came from, they will appreciate that we are moving to where we need to go.

Yes!  Apr 23, 2004
I sat at the bookstore reading this book and nodding, saying "Yes, this author knows! He gets it, he gets it!"

Peter Block asks the important questions, gives pearls of wisdom highlighted among the content. He clearly understands what he is facing and moves the reader easily into seeing solutions which work and those which are simply adding more of the "old ways" of coercion, patriarchy and adding more "disease" to the organization instead of the RECREATION which will move the organization to its highest level possible.

This quote from Chapter 15 Sums up Block's attitude and approach... and had me want to stand on the table and applaud.

"If we took responsibility for our freedom, committed ourselves to service and had faith that our security lay within ourselves, we could stop asking the question, "HOW?" we would see that we have the answer. In every case the answer to the question, "How" is YES. It plays the location and the solution in the right place - with the question.

When will I finally choose adventure and accept the fact that there is no safe path?

I even smiled at Block's titling of the Bibliography as "Lost and Found."

Chapter 13: Recreating Our Organization Through Leadership is exceptionally strong as is Block's approach to the Cynics which inhabit (and have the ability to very simply destroy and dismantle ) positive growth.

Deming All Over Again - We Never Learn  Oct 20, 2002
Although he captured me with his initial quote from Shakespeare's Richard III as rationale for a practical means to insure corporate survival, I found Peter Block to be the most refreshing thinker I've yet had the privilege to study. I used this book in a Doc course where we included a fairly lengthy conference call with Block, thus giving our rather small cohort (12 of us) a good opportunity to quiz him on some of the gritty application details. I must admit that I finished the course with a distinct impression that Block may well be the next Deming. Unfortunately, the mistakes of the past seem to be repeating in that although a new generation of managers understands his philosophy and may be buying into it at a fairly respectable pace, the bulk of corporate thinkers are just not willing to jeopardize the thinking that got them into place. The problem is of my earliest lessons in administrative thinking was a CEO who told us to use that new CQI process because he was going to foster change in our org.....right up to where he told us to find a way to make sure the results of the process met his goals for the org.

There is no doubt that Block is challenging the big thinkers to have the guts to give up the power while still holding the responsibility. Like Deming before him, he's a prophet with a message everybody believes in but few are willing to sacrifice adequately to reap the enlightenment. I'm not a CEO, but I've used his principles fairly successfully the past 4 years, occasionally I can't make it work, but when it does, the results have been spectacular. What's important for me is that I think of myself as a steward entrusted with a valuable resource. There are some great lessons on how to do this in any serious biography of Henry II of England's administrative structure - which established the concept of English Common Law, among other achievements. (By no stretch of imagination could Henry II be considered a modern manager, but his concept of stewardship certainly was as radical in his day as Block and Deming in ours - the lessons of history are worthwhile.)

It's the subtitle of the book that provides the clue to the difficulty of the concept.....Choosing Service over's extremely hard to carry this out. Block himself tends to simply inform those who challenge him that he cannot provide assurances of security, that if the outcome were a sure thing there would be no need for commitment, and then he sometimes talks about installing living democracy in organizations in place of autocracy. This is radical that the cost of believing is more than most of today's administrators can afford to risk, so perhaps the philosophy will take root in those who are listening now in anticipation of their time. When it finally happens, the world will once again become a better place.

weLEAD Book Review by the Editor of  Feb 13, 2002
Business consultant Peter Block is no stranger to controversy. A number of his previous works explored the reaches of transformational management, including his bestselling book The Empowered Manager. In an even bolder way, Stewardship - Choosing Service over Self-Interest offers a dynamic new organizational structure for our young century. Block defines stewardship as "the means of achieving fundamental change in the way we govern our institutions." He believes that stewardship is a choice "to preside over the orderly distribution of power." This means giving individuals at the bottom of the organizational structure the choice on how to best serve their customers, citizens and community". It also means accepting accountability at all levels. Block continues to define stewardship as being accountable to the larger organization by "operating in service, rather than in control, of those around us." His philosophy is centered on a need and commitment to service rather than self-interest.

Peter Block challenges the modern notion of strong leadership and suggests replacing the term with stewardship. His problem with leadership is that he does not believe it has the capability to create fundamental changes in our organizations. He also believes that leadership "inevitably becomes self-congratulatory and over-controlling. We expect leaders to choose service over self-interest, but it seems the choice is rarely made." Perhaps Block would have better made his point by discussing the various philosophies that pass as leadership rather than neatly collecting them all in one term. Indeed, leadership is often a vague and misunderstood term.

Stewardship - Choosing Service over Self-Interest is a book with three parts. The first part discusses the basic concept of stewardship. It highlights the promises offered by developing a passion toward stewardship in contrast to what we experience in traditionally managed organizations. The second part of the book discusses the redistribution of power in a practical way. This controversial section of the book butchers many managerial "sacred cows" and offers a vision of what stewardship can be like in action! Part three examines the reform process and explores how you and your organization can get from where it is today to an environment of stewardship.

If you are one who is not satisfied with the status quo, you will find this book exciting and refreshing. Sometimes written in almost theological terms, Block inspires the reader to expect more from our institutions and ourselves. This book should find itself on the bookshelf of every person interested in the study of leadership.


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