Power is about influence. Very simplistically, power is about being able to realise your intentions, your purpose; the outcomes that you have set for yourself, or that a group of people have set. In the context of this manifesto, there are two types of power that are particularly important – collective and hierarchical power.
Collective power is the capacity of human beings to act collaboratively towards achieving a common goal. We organise ourselves around a shared purpose, work together, share resources, distribute power between us, share setbacks, learn together and celebrate our achievements. We recognise that, for all to prosper, one must prosper and vice versa. There is a sense of fair play and equality threaded into collective power. However, if we are not careful, the very existence of collective power gives rise to hierarchical power. If we create something and others are not part of it, then we have something to defend and they want something we have.
Hierarchical power is about who has power over whom. It is marked, at its extremes, by those who want to dominate, versus those who believe in egalitarianism. Hierarchical power has four cornerstones:
- Who stands to benefit?
- Who’s in control?
- Who wins from a decision?
- Who has the key reputation (who stands out amongst peers)?
In the early stages of initiating a change, being able to answer these questions is part of your preparation, helping you to be informed about who you need to influence and why.
Understand your own source of power. The failure to be comfortable with, recognise and use power is to set yourself up to fail to achieve your purpose. You need to wrap your head around this and, if it is not your predisposition, if you’ve been inclined to judge it, then you are going to have to put more effort in because it won’t come naturally and, for that matter, easily.
Power is an excerpt from Fabian Dattner‘s One World AtLast – a manifesto for the Modern Revolution, page 235 – 238.
Power image courtesy of 2nix / www.freedigitalphotos.net