Dear Servant Leader:

I am so deeply grateful for the hundreds of encouraging emails and phone calls received in response to the first issue of Servant-Leader News.  Getting a new enterprise up-and-going is always a challenging proposition.  The risk and uncertainty that is present in our lives can feel greatly amplified when you are trying something new.  It helps to know that others care.

For many years, I have sought to do two things—
  1. Maintain a focus on servant-leadership ideas and characteristics as described by Robert K. Greenleaf; and, at the same time,
  2. Encourage new understandings and practices of servant-leadership so that it may remain a vital, relevant, and growing force in the world.

My commitment to the first goal has taken many forms over the past two decades, including the co-creation of five books of writings by Robert Greenleaf published since his death in 1990:  The Servant-Leader Within, 2003; The 25th Anniversary Edition of Servant Leadership, 2002; The Power of Servant-Leadership, 1998; Seeker and Servant, 1996; and, On Becoming a Servant-Leader, 1996.

Encouraging new understandings and practices of servant-leadership has also taken many forms, including the co-creation of numerous essays, articles, DVDs, journals, and through four anthologies that have helped to expand servant-leadership into new directions:  Practicing Servant-Leadership, 2004; Focus on Leadership, 2002; Insights on Leadership, 1998; and, Reflections on Leadership , 1995.  Each of these books has featured a broad range of applications and companion concepts in relation to servant-leadership, including board governance, diversity, council of equals, service-learning, and others.

Now comes Scanlon EPIC Leadership:  Where the Best Ideas Come Together, published this month by the Scanlon Leadership Foundation.  I am glad to have been able to help Paul Davis, my friend and President of the Scanlon Leadership Network, to realize his longtime dream of creating an anthology of writings that chart the history and development of the Scanlon Plan and the EPIC (Equity, Participation, Identity, Competence) Principles. 

Joe Scanlon was a steelworker and a Union official who dreamt that, “together we can achieve the impossible.”  He believed workplaces could be created where people want to come to work, where everyone contributes their ideas, where leaders serve their followers, and where customers, investors, and workers all benefit. 

Scanlon thinking helped to create advancements in labor-management cooperation, gainsharing, employee involvement, teamwork, lean systems, six-sigma, open book management, and servant-leadership.

Organizational and governance practitioners of servant-leadership use many different methods.  Several very different and powerful approaches are those involving the Scanlon ideas, first developed by Joe Scanlon and Carl Frost, the Council of Equals method suggested by Bob Greenleaf, and the Policy Governance model originated by John Carver.  The June issue of Servant-Leader News will feature a look at the Council of Equals model, via an excerpt from an essay to be published next month—“Holistic Servant-Leadership,” which I have co-authored along with my colleague, George SanFacon.

This month, I am pleased to include an excerpt from Scanlon EPIC Leadership on servant-leadership and Scanlon principles.  Anyone interested in learning more about Scanlon can check out the Scanlon Leadership Network website at
Warm regards,


Larry C. Spears
President & CEO

The Spears Center for Servant-Leadership