Another cold start to the morning. I am taking a few days off from Route 66 in order to visit with a number of friends in the Greater Phoenix area this weekend.

Route 66 

I took I-17 south for much of the way from Flagstaff to Phoenix. It was notable for the long and steep grade in a number of places. I started out this morning at an altitude of between 7,000-8,000 feet. As the miles passed, and as I travelled mostly downhill, signs counted off the drop in altitude (7,000 feet, 6,000 feet, 5,000 feet, 4,000 feet, 3,000 feet).

The scenery continued to be most spectacular, with steep red cliffs and, here and there, what appeared to be large and oddly-shaped boulders stacked on top of one another.

As I drove past Sedona, I was reminded of my first visit there nearly a decade ago, to attend a servant-leadership gathering. I recalled the Ginny Duncan Gilmore and Deborah Vogel-Welch had been among those who were there. I also recalled seeing a magnificent sight involving the full moon rising over the red hills of Sedona.

I also drove past a sign for Prescott, Arizona and was reminded that it had been a poorly-received speaking engagement at Prescott College that had helped to trigger Bob Greenleaf’s coining of the term, servant-leadership. It was the late 1960s, and Bob’s presentation was met with resistance and cynicism. On the trip home he reflected upon what had occurred, and how traditional leadership approaches had served to alienate young people. With his visit to Prescott College in mind, and his thinking about the Hermann Hesse book, Journey to the East, Greenleaf was soon to write his thoughts in the classic essay, The Servant as Leader.

--Larry Spears [Friday, Jan. 15, 2010]