We are developing a conference that will bring together Allies from around the world to answer the question “how can we best dissolve the barriers to healthy power which we encounter in our work?”



The inaugural Healthy Power Alliance (HPA) Conference will bring together consultants, leaders and academics, for the first time, all of whom are pursuing the goal of a just distribution of power within the workplace. It will provide a forum for individuals committed to a healthy form of power in the workplace which is circular (not linear), fluid (not frozen) and consensual (not coercive) and which frees workers so that they have the conditions required to create and produce with equality and dignity. The event will enable approximately 60 individuals (see appendix below for details) from a range of countries and backgrounds to work collectively towards solving the biggest single issue that we face as a newly emerging alliance: “How can we – as a community – dissolve the barriers to healthy power?”

We envisage this question being addressed through two sub-questions that we feel are particularly important to address as a collective:

  • How do we dissolve the barriers that are making it difficult for us as consultants, leaders and academics to work together proactively and in an ongoing manner?

In the first part of the conference we will explore how the HPA can work most effectively.  The HPA operates using sociocracy and will have done so for several months by the time the conference takes place. We will use this time to reflect on the values that it espouses and the practices and methodologies that have been best employed to achieve success thus far and what (if anything) needs improvement. In doing so, we will discuss the process, the manifesto and the ideas that underpin the work that we, as the HPA, are trying to achieve. The aim of this discussion is to improve our collective way of working so that it can hold us together as a tri-partite force of consultants, leaders and academics.

  • How do we dissolve the barriers that make it difficult to promote healthy power in the workplace?

In the second part of the conference we will move on to explore the dilemmas and difficulties that exist when trying to promote healthy power within organizations. Prior to the conference we will survey participants on the barriers which they feel exist which may include (but are not limited to) issues like technology, gender imbalance, ethnic discrimination, understanding the sources of toxic power or convincing managers to relinquish power. We will select two of the most often repeated barriers from each of consultants, leaders and academics providing us with six dilemmas to explore throughout the rest of the two days. We will then work in four facilitated circles of 10-15 people with a mix of consultants, leaders and academics in each to explore these dilemmas and consider possible solutions.

The event will employ a host of methods for exploring dilemmas. These creative processes may include methods such as: sociocracy; World café; OST; Theory U; Social presence; Boal style theatre of the oppressed; Constellations/process work; embodied practice; Counsel circles; Therapeutic art techniques; Photo elicitation, amongst others. The aim of the sessions is to deepen the analysis of the issues to gain a more detailed, multi-perspective and creative response to the immediate challenge that the participants present. Alternative views will be encouraged and the variety of different facilitation techniques will be used to unlock and develop these different interpretations of the situation.

Ultimately, by the end of the conference a person – ideally a practitioner – will ‘own’ each of the six dilemmas and will take back potential solutions to their organisation. They will have the opportunity (and the funding support via an already funded ESRC project) to work with interested academics and consultants in a tri-partite relationship to extend their understanding of the issue and implement possible solutions in practice.

The event itself will run over two days later this autumn and will be held in a self-contained location. It will begin on a Friday evening and continue through until Sunday evening and involve a variety of social/networking activities including communal meals as well as formal working spaces. The aim of the event is to build on the initial progress of the HPA but also to act as an incubator, a first attempt, at understanding how the different members of the HPA could work together to solve real-world dilemmas in organizations committed to healthy power.

We would like to invite you, therefore, to express an interest in joining us at this inaugural event and to be part of the beginning of something we think will be exciting and inspiring. If you wish to express an interest and/or have any further questions about the conference please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Nathaniel Whitestone (nathaniel.whitestone@healthypoweralliance.org)

Martyn Griffin (busmgr@leeds.ac.uk)

Daniel King (daniel.king@ntu.ac.uk)