Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World


Written by: on April 23, 2015

To understand that your role as a leader is to advance other people in life is the highest possible level of leadership maturity.  For DePree, the corporate mission is a secondary gain, it just happens naturally when  care for people is expressed in measurable ways.  I am going to keep this blog simple, I just want to highlight some key concepts that I have gleaned from this fantastic little book:

  • To understand and accept diversity enables us to fully embrace others as vital and necessary to the corporate success.  Every piece of the puzzle is necessary if there is to be a complete picture.
  • Further, this acceptance of diversity allows us to become “abandoned to the strengths of others”1 which is a central theme found throughout this book.  True leadership recognizes and embraces other people’s gifts and serves to make those gifts more polished and liberated.
  • “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.  The last is to say thank you.  In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor.”2  What we can do is nothing more than an outgrowth of who we are.
  • Participative management is vital to any healthy organization.  To have a say in the process is not the same as having a vote; it is better!  I would rather work as a part of an outstanding group than in a group of outstanding individuals.
  • In a corporate environment, covenants are better than contracts.  They are stronger and more enduring.
  • Workers in an organization have a right to be needed; the right be involved; the right to a covenantal relationship;  the right to understand; the right to affect one’s own destiny; the right to be accountable; the right to appeal; and finally the right to make a commitment.  These rights form the ground rules for working in an effective, life-giving organization.

I think it is a stroke of genius to end the term with this particular book!  After all of the crushing weight of the words we have processed over these last months, it is nice to simplify to some very accessible thoughts about being good leaders.  These principles will translate into any culture.

On to the Essay!



1. Max DePree; Leadership is an Art. (New York, Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group: 1989) 9.

2. Ibid, 11.

About the Author

Jon Spellman

Jon is a husband, father, coach, author, missional-thinker, and most of all, a follower of Jesus.

7 responses to “Simplicity”

  1. Travis Biglow says:


    Yea I feel the same way about this book. Even though it was little it had some big concepts. De Pree sounded like a preacher to me how he talked about leadership. I like it that he emphasized that our duty as leaders is to empower and to facilitate an environment that those we lead can grow! That was profound. I am finishing my essay too. Brain is tired! God give us grace! Blessings!

  2. Nick Martineau says:

    Jon, Your first two points talked about diversity…Instinctively we tend to gather people around us that are like us but there’s a real strength in learning to embrace our differences. I loved how Depree made that a mark of leadership.

    • Dawnel Volzke says:


      Very good point – our nature is to gather a group of others just like ourselves. But, strong leaders know that they must mitigate their weaknesses and leverage their strengths by surrounding themselves with others who complement their efforts.


  3. Brian Yost says:

    “the corporate mission is a secondary gain, it just happens naturally when  care for people is expressed in measurable ways.”

    Jon, this reminds me of a conversation I recently had with a church leadership team. They asked me, “What did you like the most in working with the Mexican Church?”

    My answer was that I most enjoyed the relationships. Over the past ten years, we had a lot of goals and saw great accomplishments, but they were always secondary to the relationships that occurred in the process. The journey was just as important (or more important) than the end result. In many ways, the journey was the goal.

  4. Dave Young says:


    Great job summarizing key points from the book. I know it’s obvious but churches that should be the hallmark of treating people, all sorts of people form different cultures, perspectives, giftings, personality types… treating people as children of God. With the highest possible respect and honor. Yet we rarely do. In fact church infrastructures, human resources, administrative functions may be lagging behind the corporations. Oh Dawnel will speak up on this. But bottom line is “God help us love people like you love them.”

    • Dawnel Volzke says:

      LOL Dave – you know me so well! Yes, there are corporations that figured this out long ago and to be honest I’ve often seen corporate America treat people better than many Christian organizations. Diversity and talent seem to be less threatening in the corporate world, and I haven’t figured out why this isn’t typical within the majority of Christian organizations that I’ve been exposed to! I’ve been very privileged to work with some amazing leaders, within highly innovative secular companies. They aren’t all Christians, but I know that God placed them in my life and has used them to fulfill part of His plan for me. I highly value their opinions, expertise, and friendships.

      One pattern that I see in strong / good organizations (large, small, secular, or Christian) is that they value their people and keep focused on their mission, while being responsible to revenue and operating concerns. When either people, mission, or resource priorities are out of line…the result is very bad. Organizations and leaders that value relationships and have a loving community seem to thrive. I often hear organizations claim to have this working environment, but it only works if they really do!

  5. Mary Pandiani says:

    “To have a say in the process is not the same as having a vote – it is better.” I remember when I was first introduced to consensus decision making. I didn’t think it was possible for people to take the amount of time necessary to listen to each other. Yet when they did, the power of the decision created a meaning experience, not only with the buy-in by everyone for the final result but also with the way people understood one another. Seems that organizations could benefit from this participative management in some healthy ways.

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