Monday, November 24, 2014

2007 NOV | Navigating the journey to real power in organizations

November 2007 MUNJOY HILL OBSERVER                 PAGE  15

Navigating the journey to real power in organizations

I have never been able to conceive how any rational being could propose happiness to himself from the exercise of power over others.”   
- Thomas Jefferson

by Ed Democracy

Socrates wrote that true wisdom is knowing how much one does not know. Janet Hagberg defines real power as, simply, wisdom.   One might conclude then, that the greatest understandings of both power and wisdom come from knowing the limits of one’s knowledge and of one’s power.   This is, essentially, the point of Janet Hagberg in her book, “Real Power: Stages of Personal Power in Organizations”.  

Hagberg’s six stages offer a navigational device to guide one on one’s personal journey through the organizational jungles in which we all live our lives.  Some of us hide under the illusion of safety and security within the confines of our village and our tribe.  We hide from the fact that it is, indeed, “a jungle out there”!  But, what does not kill one only makes one stronger so one should get out of one’s comfort zone occasionally to seek some growth.  By gaining self-awareness - and other-awareness - throughout the stages of one’s journey to real power, we gain knowledge.  Of course, Francis Bacon wrote that, “knowledge is power”.  So as we hike the treacherous mountain jungle terrain of organizational life, we gain the satisfaction and humbling awe of reaching a summit and, simultaneously, gaining the perspective of how much more there is to the world.  By pushing one’s own self-sufficiency to its limit, one gains the opportunity to learn the importance of cooperation with others to be able to ascend greater heights and face even more daunting challenges.

Hagberg places the stages into two categories:

[1] External

Stage 1, Powerlessness 
Stage 2, Power by Association 
Stage 3, Power by Achievement

[2] Internal

Stage 4, Power by Reflection
The Wall 
Stage 5, Power by Purpose 
Stage 6, Power by Wisdom 

She writes that, “personal power in organizations increases when leaders have both external and internal power and when people begin leading from their souls rather than positions of authority.”

The Real Power Model

Helpful WEB Links for Sustainable Organizing:

Janet Hagberg - Join her on a journey of healing and transformation

Janet Hagberg’s, “The Wall” (between stages 4 & 5)

Review of, "Real Power: Stages of Personal Power in Organizations"
(3rd Edition) 
by Don Blohowiak, Lead Well Institute

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