Healthy Power and Decision Making

This article is based on my ideas about the Great Turning Movement. If you aren’t familiar with them, click here.

In keeping with the idea that the Great Turning Movement must reflect the regenerative culture that we are aiming to bring about in society, this movement must handle power and decision making in a collaborative way.

The question of power is tricky and crucial. Who makes decisions and how? How do we coordinate our actions? Who gets to decide? Who has the power? It is all to easy to make decisions and wield power from the top, even if we aren’t trying to dominate. However, thist is rarely optimal, because it puts too much power in too few hands. In addition, the people at the top often don’t have the information to make the best decisions, because other people are hesistant to give them honest feedback. And those in power may be corrupted by ego, power needs, and so on.

So care must be given to developing a system for the handling of power that matches our values. Power should be decentralized as much as possible, so that only decisions that affect the whole organization or large segments of it should be made by leaders or governing bodies. Whenever possible, decisions should be made at a local a level as is feasible. It should be done in a way that is open, transparent, democratic, and empowering for all.

In addition, the decision-making process must be efficient, effective, and relatively enjoyable. There is too much experience with concensus process that take forever and leave everyone frustrated. Decision-making should also foster interpersonal connection and community.

The Great Turning Network will learn from people who have studied how to do this well and incorporate this into our handling of power, and we will encourage other organizations who are part of the Great Turning Movement to do the same.

Here are some examples of collaborative approaches to this topic.

Tom Atlee has thought long and hard about how groups can make wise decisions. See his website and his book, Empowering Public Wisdom – A Practical Vision of Citizen-Led Politics.

Extinction Rebellion has an interesting structure for decision making and coordination.

Sociocracy seems like a promising approach to this topic.

Jim Rough’s Dynamic Facilitation seems like an excellent procedure for making tough decisions and creating new solutions for difficult problems.

Miki Kashtan’s Convergent Facilitation is another promising approach, and her organization Nonviolent Global Liberation has an exciting method for decision making.

Power in organizations has a lot in common with power in society, so what we all learn from creating healthy approaches to power in our organizations may guide us in handling power in the new regenerative approach to societal governance.