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The President’s View Engaging the Culture, Changing the World

The Wisdom of the Sower

New Book Illustrates Leadership Principles Through the
Parable of a Coffee Shop

Rich Soil: Transforming Your Organization’s
Landscape for Maximum Effectiveness

Beacon Hill Press, 2014

For a business to grow healthily, its seeds need to be planted in the right kind of soil.

Using the biblical parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1–23) as a starting point, President Dan Martin’s new book provides a template for organizational success based in eight key principles:

  • Reason
  • Imagination
  • Clarity
  • Harmony
  • Strategy
  • Operation
  • Implementation
  • Leadership

These eight principles form the acronym “rich soil,” a reminder for any leader who is seeking to improve an organization. The principles illustrated in Rich Soil also guided the steps that President Martin took in orchestrating Seattle Pacific University’s strategic planning process.

“Given the current economic and market challenges we face, leaders and managers of organizations of all typesare searching for how to do more with less while simultaneously improving operations and performance to best fulfill their mission,” President Martin says.

At SPU, though, we go beyond economics when defining our value. Not only do we provide the quantitative value necessary to make a living, our philosophy of holistic education also provides qualitative value that prepares our students and alumni to make not just a living, but a life.

Rich Soil follows the fictional story of Will, an entrepreneur who founded a chain of coffeehouses known as Joe & Chow’s, through starting and growing his business. As the story unfolds, Will encounters a variety of challenges. For instance, when the business is acquired by a restaurant conglomerate, it becomes clear that the corporate culture and priorities don’t align with the original Joe & Chow’s mission. Business suffers as a result, and Will has to decide what to do. Should he reacquire the company and try to reconnect it to its original mission? Is rebuilding the brand worth the financial risk?

By exploring the decision-making process at key moments in the story and pulling out relevant principles, Rich Soil provides clear illustrations and practical advice for leaders in many different types of organizations.

You can read more about Rich Soil or order a copy at Beacon Hill Press or Amazon.