bringing the insights he has mined from the disciplines of philosophy and theology
to bear on the challenges and opportunities of leadership. In his book If Aristotle Ran General Motors, he described a “pivotal
conversation” between designer Gilbert Rohde and D.J. DePree.
DePree bought the Star Furniture Company and named it after his father-in-law,
Herman Miller, who had helped DePree to finance the purchase. DePree was an innovator in home and office
furniture design, and he was also interested in the design of both public
buildings and private residences. Rohde
was one of his mentors. Once, Rohde said
toDePree, “You think design is the most interesting thing about a house.” DePree answered, “Yes, I guess I do.” Rohde countered, “Then you’re wrong. The most interesting thing about a house is
the people who live in that house. And
I’m designing for those people.”
interesting thing about a house is not its design but the people whose life in
the house makes it a home.
important thing about a corporation isn’t its strategic plan, its third-quarter
profits, or next year’s revenue projections: it’s the people who work in it and
who rely on its products and services.
crucial thing about a church isn’t its buildings, its budget, its programs, or,
even, its “take” on finer points of doctrine.
The most crucial thing about a community of faith is the people who have
been and will be touched by the love and grace of Jesus Christ.
of all. Servant leaders never let the
organization put secondary things in the place of those people. In the church,
servant leaders are passionate about helping people become everything God has
given them the capacity to become—to receive the fullness of life Jesus offers:
“I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
leadership is a way of serving. Jesus
calls us to lives of authentic humility and genuine servanthood in a culture
that is fascinated by power and preoccupied with success and in which image and
status matter more than reality and substance. A servant leader’s satisfaction is seeing others
claim their possibilities, live their God-given dreams, and flourish in the way
of grace and love.