I was living in New York City when I first sought opportunities to work with companies focused on servant leadership. While interviewing a well-known author on the topic, his advice to me was simple: “Move”, he chuckled. He went on to explain his experience turned up few – if any – companies that were serious about servant-leadership in the greater New York area. That was two decades ago. Well, the times they are a changin…
The Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership has announced their new headquarters will be located in Northern New Jersey, within Seton Hall University. That’s right – Northern New Jersey, right outside New York City.
Seton Hall has long been a fellow advocate in the advancement of servant-leadership principles. You may have seen us cover their servant-leadership awards, or heard of their scholarships and celebrations of these principles. So the partnership makes sense. What is pleasantly surprising is the extent of support for this pillar of servant leadership, so close to New York.
Honestly, when you think of business in New York City, does it scream, “ethical business values”? Do servant-leadership principles seem synonymous with business models birthed from the Big Apple? Yet, support for this move likely required the approval of Seton Hall’s board members – many leaders in the region’s business circles. These discussions must have considered the demand from and opportunities to work with companies in the area.
This is a symbolic reflection of a major movement in business. For years now, servant-leadership advocates observed the growing trend toward adoption of servant-leadership principles by leading business entities. Companies like Starbucks, Southwest Airlines, Marriott International, REI and more demonstrate the compelling benefits of servant-leadership while leading their industries. Many companies, once observed to be slower, too focused on long-term results, are now the unquestionable leaders. These industry shifts cause the competition to re-evaluate their own leadership principles.
Undoubtedly, this move offers many benefits for both Seton Hall and the Greenleaf Center. At the same time, the move reflects a symbolic leap for the modern servant-leadership movement. It is clear the servant-leadership times they are changing. For, as Bob Dylan stated so well, “the slowest one will later be fast…. …and the first now will later be last.”
Congratulations to these two great institutions, on their new partnership!