We continue looking at Max De Pree’s list of 14 attributes of vital organizations. Here are another five.


“We are created, I believe, in the image of God, a belief surrounded by enormous moral and ethical implications. Vital organizations don’t grant their members authenticity; they acknowledge that people come already wrapped in authentic humanness. When an organization truly acknowledges the a priori authenticity of each person and acts accordingly, how many ways open up for people to reach their potential!”


De Pree sees justice as constructed on right practices. Then he addresses the matter of compensation as the most practical part of life in organizations. He argues that justice – making compensation right – requires doing what is right (justice) as it relates to everybody in the organization.


Respect works its way out in showing civility, good manners, language…all of which are expressions of heart and mind. He cites Peter Drucker who once said that “manners are the lubricant of an organization.”


In vital organizations, people find hope everywhere they look. Vital organizations generate hope.


De Pree sees the idea of building workable unity as transforming organizations into communities, as “a community performs on a much higher level than an organization.” He argues that there is no substitute for relationships, even in our technology filled organizations. Community.


How do these attributes – authenticity, justice, respect, hope, and workable unity work themselves out in your organization?

*Max De Pree, Leading Without Power: Finding Hope in Serving Community (1997, Jossey-Bass) pp. 99-113.

If you would like to get a better handle on governance, I simply offer a shameless plug for my book, Board Essentials: 12 Best Practices of Board Governance. A friend who chairs both a corporate and a nonprofit board suggests it as a great primer.

Board Essentials Book

And for more information visit

cropped-wordpress-header.jpgBoard Governance and Management Consulting

About Dave Coleman

Dave Coleman Principal / Consultant Phone: 253-237-4118 After many years of nonprofit leadership and the privilege of getting to know hundreds of organizations through my work with the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust, I am pleased to offer my services to you at BoardTrek Nonprofit Consulting. Our small Pacific Northwest based company is focused on helping guide nonprofit organizations and their leaders into the future by offering our services in board governance, strategic planning, leadership development and organizational change. Always feel free to contact me with your thoughts and questions.
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