Power WITH

Power WITH

Power WITH is when we direct our vitality and resourcefulness to be in service together to cultivate a thriving lifestyle for ALL.

  • Replaces the model of accumulating power through status, money, and dominating force with one with far more potential to tap the gifts and gaps of all members of the community.
  • Fits the stewardship approach to tending to love relationships, property, and business initiatives.
  • Seeks to grow individual freedom and choice, minimize harm, reduce barriers to thriving, and eliminate violence as the means of enforcing decisions wherever possible.

But Someone Has to Decide!

Yes, sometimes that is absolutely true. The question is whether that is best as the typical way decisions are made… or the (hopefully) rare exception?

Many groups, companies, and families operate on the “boss” model (hierarchy). Someone has power OVER others – the power to decide, to veto, to even coerce and punish.

Of course, that person who has power now once did not – when they were a child, employee, or student. In the power OVER model, life gets “better” as we move up, gain more power over others, have the resources to hire people to “do it our way or else.” They get the power to decide.

Is there another way? Yes, and it is being practiced more and more by those who seek non-violence and co-creating. It invokes an intention to “get it right” (the decisions) by tapping into the perspectives, needs, and desires of the stakeholders. It accepts reality – resources of time, energy, and money can all be scarce at times. The process involves seeking congruence with the values and intentions that are shared.

Ideally, a consensus is reached together. And… there’s a recognition that “majority rules” means 50.1% is ruling OVER the 49.9%. In that recognition, decisions that do not have great consensus go deeper.

Asking questions like, “Even though this would not be your choice, is it something acceptable to you? If not, are there adaptations that would make it acceptable – even if not preferable?”

At some point, of course, decisions do get made when broad consensus has not been reached – including the decision not to make a decision. Who gets to make those decisions?

We believe that when co-creating with an intention to thrive together, individuals and small groups will be entrusted with making decisions that impact the life, liberty, and property of others. Transparently documenting the aspects considered and allowing freedom of choice (and opt-out) without punishment can help reduce resentment and grow a healthier consensus process going forward.

And… it’s not easy or trivial. It’s just more thriving, we assert, than falling back on using status and dominance to decide who does what when (and to whom).

Co-Creating from Freedom

For thriving, we believe that co-creating from a place of freedom brings out qualities that hierarchies diminish and destroy.

Imagine that you know you don’t “have to” do what others want or demand you do. You’re free to say no! That means you’re free to explore the vastness of your YES.

Of course, others are free to say NO to us, too! Mutual freedom means we get to explore together:

  • What do I really want to contribute?
  • What resources and support would make that possible… or even Joyful?
  • How does this mesh with what I’m hearing others want?
  • How can I bring my resources and gifts together with theirs to make this an experience we would enjoy doing together?

Co-creating at its finest is grounded in freedom of choice and generous sharing of resources and energy in ways that are a shared YES!!

Useful Questions

  • Am I resorting to power over another person or organization to force my choice?
  • What shuts down in me when someone uses power over me to force me to do something that would not be my free choice? What emotions come up…? What feelings do I hide?
  • How could we reach a sacred decision around this challenging situation?
  • What needs to be made transparent in order to better understand the shared intentions and impacts?
  • How can we more fully seek to improve the well-being of all that are co-creating this here?


Related Concepts

Co-Creating, Agreements, Circling, Diversity Spectrum, Emotional Freedom, Heartistry, Gifts and Gaps, Sacred Decisions, Stewardship, We-Space

Contributors: @Rick

We invite you to share your experiences and wisdom:

  • Life examples where this concept has played a role
  • Other useful questions
  • Links to audios, videos, books, and courses that add to our shared understanding of this concept
  • Memes, quotes, and inspiring images

Brene-Brown-on-Power-and-Leadership-10-26-20.pdf (185.8 KB)

What makes power dangerous is how it’s used. Power over is
driven by fear.

Daring and transformative leaders share power with, empower
people to, and inspire people to develop power within

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