by Tom Hall
Agency resources are not ours to squander but ours to preserve to assure that those who follow us have enough to continue LUK’s legacy of serving the community. Of course this includes resources such as financial and property but more importantly it includes the commitment of our collective skills, talents and energy to serve the community. This concept is known as stewardship.
Stewardship is often defined as the responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving. Organizational stewardship is the care and management of an organization in such a way to assure that its resources and services continue long past any of our individual tenures.
Peter Block called stewardship the process of choosing service over self-interest. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take great pride in our individual accomplishments – we should! But we should also be driven by building something that will last well past our involvement.
The mindset of organizational stewardship has us as caretakers, not owners, of the work we do and as a result we are not competing with each other in our work but instead we can have a shared vision of our work, a collaborative approach to our serving the community.
Stewardship is an understanding that the work we do together is greater than our work as individuals. Call this the “greater good” or the “commonwealth”. It is a belief that the sum is greater than the parts and we have a responsibility as good stewards to utilize our collective skill set to advance the mission of the organization to serve – we are all in it together.
This is not a loss or devaluing of self. In fact it is just the opposite – it is knowing your value, your intrinsic worth is so great to the mission of the organization that you constantly strive to not only provide the highest levels of service but you also make the investment in your colleagues to learn and share your skills. To share your skills requires a quiet confidence in yourself and believing that the work you do is so valuable that it is worth sharing and sustaining.
In this way of thinking we are holding in trust the resources, mission and values of the organization. Each of us is responsible for assuring that we are staying true to LUK’s mission and as keepers of that mission we are committed to its ongoing success.
If we make a commitment to individuals and the community that we will be there to serve them, than we also have an ethical commitment to assure the organization, our skills and our services are sustainable. Effective stewardship requires a vision to see beyond our own horizons.
We have been given a great gift in being trusted to continue the wonderful work of this Agency. But we are not the “owners”, we are the stewards whose job it is to take good care of the work we do to serve the community and to assure that is has a long-lasting impact.