‘Entrusted’ drew mixed reactions as we talked last night.
Whilst everyone was drawn to the basic premise of the book – that short term should not triumph at the expense of the long term – the discussion about how business owners and managers decide, whilst interesting, was a little drawn out and at times repetitive.
We found the ‘three elephants’ explanation in the preface very helpful in understanding why.
The Elephant in the room – refer to things such as ‘better corporate governance’, ‘corporate social responsibility’ or ‘inclusivity and teamwork’. Areas which people openly accept but privately challenge so real progress is often minimal. Stewardship could be another such area.
Grey elephants of stewardship. It does not represent a single solution; things are often complex and subtle, not black and white. ‘It is the wisdom of staying true to principles while being agile in changing times.’
Finally, seven blind men touching an elephant. Stewardship means different things to different people, many identifying with individual elements of it – the book looks at the whole.
These comments give a good setting for reading the book and explain to me why certain chapters captured me more than others.
The authors pose questions for different stakeholder groups to consider when adopting a stewardship model. It could be described as a coaching approach and many of our readers were seeking a far more definitive path. Perhaps that is to miss the subtlety they describe in the grey elephant analogy.
For me, this is a book I will revisit. It will be of great value when wrestling with how to make the stewardship model or mindset reality in any organisation be it large or small. It also inspires with examples of when such a mind set is embedded in an organisation and holds firm when faced by a capitalist money grab.