6 points capture the essence of good stewardship

December 10, 2013       The NonProfit Times      

Stewardship is a feel-good term that floats around the nonprofit sector, usually honored more in the breach than in the observance.

In his book “Stewardship” Peter Block makes the case that stewardship is important as more than a word. It depends on a willingness to be accountable without using control or caretaking as a means to reach them.

He argues that there are six points that capture the essence of strategies for good stewardship. The points are:

  • We want to affirm the spirit. There is a leadership tendency to leave what is personal and sacred at the door, but affirmation comes only from each of us taking responsibility.
  • Some of the fundamental beliefs we have about running organizations and organizing work aren’t working.  Partnership, instead of control, springs from the belief that balancing power and accountability is the basis upon which to govern and effect reform.
  • The dominant belief is that leadership should come only from the top, but empowerment means that each member is responsible for creating the organization’s culture.
  • We have separated the managing of the work from the doing of the work. A commitment to service requires reintegrating the managing and the doing of the work.
  • We believe in the need for change, but we cannot solve problems by using the same strategies that caused the problems.
  • Management practices designed to control costs and produce consistent, predictable results are obstacles to innovation and agility.