A Visit From Chile
The Center for Sharing recently hosted a group of Chilean apple farmers with an interest in how the Servant Leadership management philosophy employed by Broetje Orchards and taught around the world by the Center for Sharing works in real life. They asked a few questions about how the apples are produced and stored, but many of their questions related to the best way to treat employees in a tough labor market. Many expressed the sentiment that the native workforce is increasingly more reluctant to work in the agricultural industry, and noted that here in the United States we’ve already experienced that phenomenon. They were hoping to learn the best way to lead their companies forward.
We were able to share with them the secret to the success of Broetje Orchards—Servant Leadership. Born out of a desire of its owners to live out their Christian values and to treat their business as a mission field, Broetje Orchards became a place where more than just financial profits are valued. The human spirit and the related social and spiritual capital are given as much emphasis as the economic capital generated by the business (surprisingly, treating people well is really good for the bottom line of the business as well). As a result, local and international organizations and the communities they represent often visit the Center for Sharing to learn about how Servant Leadership works. Many have decided to practice servant leadership and become a part of this growing global movement.
Each farmer received a copy of “El Servidor Como Lider”—a Spanish translation of the book “Servant as Leader.” We are hopeful that the seeds planted in this encounter will result in some Chilean farmers who decide that they want people to “grow as persons, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous and more likely to themselves become servants”—just the way Bob Greenleaf taught us.