Communique



  • New edition of an iconic bestseller that has sold over 180,000 copies
  • Updated throughout and featuring a new foreword and two new chapters
  • Argues for a radical redistribution of power and privilege to make our organizations more adaptive to a changing and virtual world 

Stewardship was a provocative, even revolutionary, book when the first edition was published twenty years ago, and it remains as relevant and radical today as it was then. We still face the challenge of fostering ownership and accountability throughout our organizations. Despite all the evidence calling for profound change, most organizations still rely on patriarchy and control as their core form of governance. The result is that they stifle initiative and spirit and alienate people from the work they do. This in the face of an increasing need to find ways to be responsive to customers and the wider community.  

Peter Block insists that what is required is a dramatic shift in how we distribute power, privilege, and the control of money. “Stewardship,” he writes, “means giving people at the bottom and the boundaries of the organization choice over how to serve a customer, a citizen, a community. It is the willingness to be accountable for the well-being of the larger organization by operating in service, rather than in control, of those around us.”

Block has revised and updated the book throughout, including a new introduction addressing what has changed—and what hasn’t—in the twenty years since the book was published and a new chapter on applying stewardship to the common good of the wider community. He covers both the theory of stewardship (in particular how it ameliorates the shortcomings of traditional leadership) and the practice (how it transforms every function and department for the better). And he offers tactical advice as well on gearing up to implement these reforms.  

 

What sets this book apart from similar titles

  • Peter Block's Stewardship makes a timeless case for abandoning autocratic models of leadership that is as relevant today as the day it was penned.  The book, How: Why HOW We Do Anything Means Everything, by Dov Seidman also advocates self-governance, mostly as a way of dealing with our fast-changing, hyper-connected world.  But the argument Block makes for self-governance is even more powerful than Seidman's.  Block shows how empowerment is absolutely foundational for an organization's long-term flourishing and success.  
  • Natural Capitalism, by Paul Hawken, is another book which shows how you can pursue stewardship in tandem with business goals.  However, Hawken focuses more on the relationship between man and nature, whereas Block unpacks what it means to "choose service over self-interest" in a broad and universal sense.