Tag Archive: meetings

July 16, 2018

Taking Another Look at Where Power Comes From

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This is a repost of a third in a series of posts on power, facilitation and collaborative process that former IISC Senior Associate Linda Guinee wrote back in 2010. Last week we reposted Linda’s piece “What is Power Anyway?,” which followed a new post by a few of us on power and meetings. Enjoy!

More about power and group processes. There have been a mountain of books written about the “bases of power” and the “types of power”.  I’ve done some work to try to boil it down – and find thinking about this very useful in moving forward the conversation about how to address power issues in group processes.

In the 1950s, French and Raven put out a proposal about five “bases” of power, which others added to. Bases of power are what gives a person or group power. French and Raven came up with these five:

  • Reward Power – power that comes from the ability to reward the other party for complying
  • Coercive Power – power that comes from the ability to punish the other party if they do not comply
  • Legitimate or Normative Power – power that comes from accepted group, community or societal norms or values which are generally viewed as “legitimate”
  • Referent Power – power that comes from being identified with a person or group (for example, so and so gains power by being friends with X or being a member of Y group)
  • Expert Power – power that comes from the perception that the person or group has knowledge

Morton Deutsch later added a sixth:

  • Ecological Power – power that comes from being able to control one’s social or physical environmental in such a way that the modified environment induces a desired behavior or prevents an undesired behavior.

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April 21, 2011

Multi-Sensory Engagement

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|Photo by scalespeeder|http://www.flickr.com/photos/scalespeeder/2652863086|

We are big believers here, at IISC, in pulling on all of the senses and our full selves to create engaging experiences that bring out the best that people individually and collectively have to offer for the sake of social change.  Often meetings and convenings only scratch the surface of our many sensibilities, as if we were simply brains on sticks, without bodies, without hearts.  Subsequently much is lost that we may not even be aware of.  As Kare Anderson writes,  “Even apparently small physical experiences make a big emotional and even learning difference.”

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December 8, 2010

The Apprentice

Last month we were graced by the presence of Kathy Sferra, who was on loan from Mass Audubon.  Kathy took the initiative to approach us about spending one month of her six week sabbatical apprenticing herself to IISC, observing and contributing to our work and taking the lessons back to her home organization.  She began contributing instantly as a thought partner, often making keen observations and asking good questions that her relative outsider perspective afforded.  As her parting gift to us, Kathy offered up the following reflections and take-aways, specifically with respect to designing and facilitating meetings and other convenings, that I wanted, in the spirit of the season, to re-gift and pass along: Read More

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April 15, 2010

Working the Lizard in Us

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|Photo by John D. McDonald|http://www.flickr.com/photos/psychoactive/2943294866|

Science has confirmed what many of us feel, that we are each more than one person.  We are minds and bodies, left brains and right brains, controlled and automatic responders.  This last division is due in part to the fact that we each have more than one brain.  Our old reptilian brain is what we can depend on to keep us safe from physical harm most of the time.  Our newest brain is what gives birth to the wonders of critical thought and creativity.  The amazement I feel about the evolution of our higher thinking is dampened somewhat by my understanding and experience that my multiple brains are not often well coordinated.  I walk into a meeting on the one hand (or brain) excited to facilitate, while on the other I am anxious, my more primitive wiring believing there’s a saber toothed tiger in the corner).  Welcome to what Seth Godin calls “the lizard” inside.

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July 1, 2009

Streamlining Meetings in Twenty Words or Less

Had a fun conversation today with Jessica Lipnack and Jeff Stamps about some ideas about how we might improve meetings. (20)

Jessica asked me, “what if, in meetings, everyone had to keep comments to 20 words – a la Twitter’s 140 characters?”

I laugh tonight, thinking of our Irish colleagues’ comments about American verbosity, how they’d love it if we did this. (20)

Would English be the standard? Or Spanish? Something else? Would we need the same number of words in every language? (20)

I’m not sure I’ll be able to just talk in a meeting again. I’ll probably count out the words first. (20)

What would happen if we did this (even for an hour)? I’m ready to try. Thanks again, Jessica and Jeff! (20)

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