The Full Version
official until July 1st 2016
Healthy Power is circular, not linear or flat.
The first condition for power to be healthy is that it must be circular. Circular power is power where people are both guiding others and being guided. In a two-person conversation, this means that both people talk and both people listen. In an organization over longer periods of time, there will be feedback loops that allow every person or group to influence every other person or group in a useful way. Every living system runs on circular power.
Healthy Power is fluid, not frozen.
The second condition for power to be healthy is that it must be fluid. Fluid power means that people can move into and out of powerful roles as appropriate for the work and the people at hand. In a conversation, one person may speak more and be particularly influential when the topic is in their area of expertise, and then defer when another person’s experience is more relevant. The same kind of fluidity is essential in any healthy relationship or organization.
Healthy Power is consensual, not coercive.
The third condition for healthy power is that it must be consensual. This goes beyond verbal consent: it is not just permission, agreement, or compliance, which might be bought like a vote or “manufactured” like enthusiasm for a politician or brand. Consent means that we check for danger; we know we can afford to take the risk of moving forward. If anyone sees that a person will be harmed, or that our organization’s ability to accomplish its purpose will be harmed, we can speak up without penalty, know that we will be heard, and know the harm will not go forward. This principle is fundamental to both sociocratic organizations and lean manufacturing; it should be seen as fundamental in every organization.
If you are committed to bringing healthy power to your workplace or your community,
you are already leading the shift to a world where power works for everyone.
It can be done. It must be done. We are doing it.
We invite you to join us.
This manifesto is written and provided by the Healthy Power Alliance and is copyright protected for now, as we explore an appropriate license under the Creative Commons. The Healthy Power Alliance encourages you to use and distribute this work for non-commercial purposes, provided you use or distribute this source document in its entirety. New versions of this manifesto will be issued by the Healthy Power Alliance as suggested by feed-back and experience. Healthy Power Allies are encouraged to comment on the manifesto and will be provided a link to a collaborative copy upon request.