Foundership or Leadership or Stewardship, what really grows a business?

says there has to be another (better) way and takes off in that direction. Sometimes others follow; sometimes others just sit back and laugh at the trail blazers. And sometimes those trailblazers get lost and discover something else (Columbus, Cook and Edison to mention a few).

Leadership is that concept business people aspire to; a position of being in front of others and moving others to fulfil a vision. Sometimes that vision is their own; often the vision comes from a founder who has then gone off on a different path. But the leader takes people on an adventure to make something happen.

Stewardship is a term we often link to management but the steward is the person who oversees and protects and nurtures and fulfills the vision. A steward helps the cause prosper and grow.

Every business, cause and non-profit needs all three.


Nothing happens without a founder.

Nothing moves to the next level without a leader.

The founder can become that leader and often does but the challenge for leaders and founders is that at some point in time, they need to get out of the way and hand over the endeavour to a steward. A steward is the person who will ensure:

  • That the resources are protected and maintained properly
  • That information is available for decision making.
  • That opportunities are identified and explored
  • That useful contacts are made
  • That risks are identified and mitigated.
  • That there is a solid base to build the future on.

A steward delivers the security net that allows for development of the enterprise.  A good steward keeps an eye on the overall activities without doing the day to day but ensures that the day to day is productive and delivers what is required for the enterprise to grow and develop.

Often a steward and a manager are synonymous but there can be a subtle difference in the roles as the manager may not have the same authority or connective responsibility.

Founders are needed. The world needs more Captain Cooks, Tomas Edison’s, Steve Jobs and Marie Currie’s who will blaze new trails, find new paths and new ways of doing things.

Leaders are needed but these leaders need to be held accountable and to do that we need stewards who support the leader but who also say NO when the leader goes off track.

So who really grows a business? Look forward to your comments