Within Your Reach The Beatitudes in Business and Everyday Life Selected Writings of C. E. (Bill) Bottum, Jr. Dorothy L. Lenz, George SanFacon, and Larry C. Spears

Editors Acknowledgements

Editors Dorothy Lenz, George SanFacon and Larry Spears are friends and admirers of the late Bill Bottum and his work. It was Larry who first expressed a belief that Bill had writings that ought to be published. When the others agreed, Larry drove from Indianapolis, Indiana, to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and with the permission of Bill’s daughters Lynn and Carolyn, worked to sort through the many writings Bill had stored in dozens of files and boxes. That was the first of Larry’s many trips to Ann Arbor during the project. Larry then spent hours culling out the manuscripts he deemed candidates for publication, proofreading them, and arranging them in logical order. For months afterward, the three editors continued this process individually and together. Most of the articles in this book were originally lectures or material for study sessions in a variety of settings. Since the Beatitude Way is the core of each, there is considerable repetition of commentary and illustration. The editors have chosen to leave these in tact in order to preserve the integrity of each piece. The project unfolded as an extended team effort. Lynn and Carolyn retyped many pages that would not scan. Alex SanFacon (Hedwerxdesign) prepared Bill’s original charts for printing, and Carolyn designed the covers and layout. This is a work of love, honoring Bill and helping to fulfill his lifelong vocation of getting the Beatitude message to an ever-increasing number of people.

pdfWithin_Your_Reach_Bill_Bottum_2010.pdf3.62 MB



The Human Treatment of Human Beings:  The Writings of John Donnelly

Edited by  Larry Spears and Paul Davis

John Donnelly used his family business---The Donnelly Corporation--- as a massive experiment in industrial democracy.   During John's life Donnelly was considered one of the most democratic corporations in America and was routinely ranked among the top twentyfive best places to work.  John was an Engineer training for the Priesthood when his father died and he came home to help run the family business.  John was a pioneer in applying servant leadership, the Scanlon Plan, the Managerial Grid, System 4, and Gainsharing to create a more Human place to work.

"...John Donnelly was doing servant leadership when servant leadership wasn't cool.  Predatory pracrtices were the norm during most of John's career.  He chose to break with the norm and move to higher ground.  His courage amnd commitment are also part of his legacy."

Robert Doyle


pdfHumantreatmentofhumanbeings.pdf2.06 MB 

Ten Characteristics of a Servant-Leader

Back in 1992, I extracted from Robert Greenleaf’s writings a set of ten characteristics of the servant-leader that I view as being of critical importance--central to the development of servant-leaders.  In the decades since that time, part of my own work in servant-leadership has focused on encouraging a deepening understanding of the following characteristics and how they contribute to the meaningful practices of servant-leaders.  These ten characteristics include:

  1. Listening:  Leaders have traditionally been valued for their communication and decision-making skills.  Although these are also important skills for the servant-leader, they need to be reinforced by a deep commitment to listening intently to others.  The servant-leader seeks to identify the will of a group and helps to clarify that will.  He or she listens receptively to what is being said and unsaid.  Listening also encompasses hearing one’s own inner voice.  Listening, coupled with periods of reflection, is essential to the growth and well-being of the servant-leader.
  2. Empathy:  The servant-leader strives to understand and empathize with others.  People deserve to be accepted and recognized for their special and unique spirits.  One assumes the good intentions of co-workers and colleagues and does not reject them as people, even when one may be forced to refuse to accept certain behaviors or performance.  The most successful servant-leaders are those who have become skilled empathetic listeners.
  3. Healing:  The healing of relationships is a powerful force for transformation and integration.  One of the great strengths of servant-leadership is the potential for healing one’s self and one’s relationship to others.  Many people have broken spirits and have suffered from a variety of emotional hurts.  Although this is a part of being human, servant-leaders recognize that they have an opportunity to help make whole those with whom they come in contact.  In his essay, The Servant as Leader, Greenleaf writes, “There is something subtle communicated to one who is being served and led if, implicit in the compact between servant-leader and led, is the understanding that the search for wholeness is something they share.”
  4. Awareness:  General awareness, and especially self-awareness, strengthens the servant-leader.  Awareness helps one in understanding issues involving ethics, power and values.  It lends itself to being able to view most situations from a more integrated, holistic position.  As Greenleaf observed:  “Awareness is not a giver of solace--it is just the opposite.  It is a disturber and an awakener.  Able leaders are usually sharply awake and reasonably disturbed.  They are not seekers after solace.  They have their own inner serenity.”
  5. Persuasion:  Another characteristic of servant-leaders is reliance on persuasion, rather than on one’s positional authority, in making decisions within an organization.  The servant-leader seeks to convince others, rather than coerce compliance.  This particular element offers one of the clearest distinctions between the traditional authoritarian model and that of servant-leadership.  The servant-leader is effective at building consensus within groups.  This emphasis on persuasion over coercion finds its roots in the beliefs of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)--the denominational body to which Robert Greenleaf belonged.
  6. Conceptualization:  Servant-leaders seek to nurture their abilities to dream great dreams.  The ability to look at a problem or an organization from a conceptualizing perspective means that one must think beyond day-to-day realities.  For many leaders, this is a characteristic that requires discipline and practice.  The traditional leader is consumed by the need to achieve short-term operational goals.  The leader who wishes also to be a servant-leader must stretch his or her thinking to encompass broader-based conceptual thinking.  Within organizations, conceptualization is, by its very nature, a key role of boards of trustees or directors.  Unfortunately, boards can sometimes become involved in the day-to-day operations--something that should always be discouraged--and, thus, fail to provide the visionary concept for an institution.  Trustees need to be mostly conceptual in their orientation, staffs need to be mostly operational in their perspective, and the most effective executive leaders probably need to develop both perspectives within themselves.  Servant-leaders are called to seek a delicate balance between conceptual thinking and a day-to-day operational approach.
  7. Foresight:  Closely related to conceptualization, the ability to foresee the likely outcome of a situation is hard to define, but easier to identify.  One knows foresight when one experiences it.  Foresight is a characteristic that enables the servant-leader to understand the lessons from the past, the realities of the present, and the likely consequence of a decision for the future.  It is also deeply rooted within the intuitive mind.  Foresight remains a largely unexplored area in leadership studies, but one most deserving of careful attention.
  8. Stewardship:  Peter Block (author of Stewardship and The Empowered Manager) has defined stewardship as “holding something in trust for another.”  Robert Greenleaf’s view of all institutions was one in which CEO’s, staffs, and trustees all played significant roles in holding their institutions in trust for the greater good of society.  Servant-leadership, like stewardship, assumes a commitment to serving the needs of others.  It also emphasizes the use of openness and persuasion, rather than control.
  9. Commitment to the growth of people:  Servant-leaders believe that people have an intrinsic value beyond their tangible contributions as workers.  As such, the servant-leader is deeply committed to the growth of each individual within his or her organization.  The servant-leader recognizes the tremendous responsibility to do everything in his or her power to nurture the personal and professional growth of employees and colleagues.  In practice, this can include (but is not limited to) concrete actions such as making funds available for personal and professional development, taking a personal interest in the ideas and suggestions from everyone, encouraging worker involvement in decision-making, and actively assisting laid-off employees to find other positions.
  10. Building community:  The servant-leader senses that much has been lost in recent human history as a result of the shift from local communities to large institutions as the primary shaper of human lives.  This awareness causes the servant-leader to seek to identify some means for building community among those who work within a given institution.  Servant-leadership suggests that true community can be created among those who work in businesses and other institutions. Greenleaf said, “All that is needed to rebuild community as a viable life form for large numbers of people is for enough servant-leaders to show the way, not by mass movements, but by each servant-leader demonstrating his or her unlimited liability for a quite specific community-related group.”

            These ten characteristics of servant-leadership are by no means exhaustive.  However, they do serve to communicate the power and promise that this concept offers to those who are open to its invitation and challenge.

pdfTen_Characteristics_of_a_Servant_Leader_by_Larry_Spears_11.01.18.pdf90.40 KB


Scanlon EPIC Leadership: Where the Best Ideas Come Together

With a forward by Warren Bennis and and Afterword by Max DePree, Scanlon EPIC Leadership is the definitive work on Scanlon history, philosophy and practice.  Edited by Larry C. Spears and Paul W. Davis the book contains historical writings by Joe Scanlon, Douglas McGregor, Carl Frost and Fred Lesieur as well as modern writings from current Scanlon thinkers and practioners.  It is the primary source of everything Scanlon. Published by the Scanlon Foundation in 2008.



pdfEPICleadershipbook.pdf9.49 MB 

News and Reviews

Greenleaf Centre UK Awards Larry Spears




At our January meeting last year the Greenleaf UK Board agreed that we should, at our 2015 conference, recognise the contribution made to our centre’s work by one of our longest standing friends and supporters.

Larry Spears has been a staunch ally for many years, always lending ideas and encouragement when they were most needed, and asking the occasional searching – sometimes awkward - question when it was most warranted. We owe him a real and lasting debt of gratitude.

It’s very difficult to sum up in a few words just how much we owe Larry; indeed the whole servant-leadership community is in his debt. During his term as CEO at The Greenleaf Center in the United States, interest in servant-leadership spread substantially, and a number of international centres were established, independent from, but greatly encouraged by Larry and the then Greenleaf Center Board.

Greenleaf UK essentially was established when Ralph Lewis and I met back in 1996 and it was Larry who actually brokered that meeting. It was also largely his encouragement that led Ralph and myself to believe we really could get a Centre going here in the UK, and at very short notice - the kind of short notice that would today cause my blood to run cold - we set up our very first conference in 1997 with his help and that of his colleague Richard Smith. That was way back then, and here we are all these years later, planning our 20th annual conference for later this year.

Larry has been a regular attendee at our conference for a number of years and has presented on three separate occasions. His support and encouragement have remained a constant throughout the years, and it has been a pleasure to welcome him back to London every November.

The Board decided that it should find some tangible way of expressing our thanks and appreciation to Larry. We agreed on a form of words, and then passed the project on to Pat Reid, the Board member working in the creative world, to design and produce something fitting for the occasion. The results, shown here, confirmed that the right person had undertaken the task.

John Noble
January 2016




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The Spears Center is a charitable, non-profit organization, and your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowable. Our federal tax ID number is 26-1555344. We invite your donation by check to The Spears Center, 329 Garden Grace Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46239.  Thank you!


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