Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Paradox of Power

If you go around office, you will find many colleagues complaining that they don't have power to make the required change happen. They believe power lies high above somewhere in the hierarchy. Therefore keep blaming the status quo, rather than doing something about it.

Taking a step back if you really start looking for powerful people in the society, they can be of 3 different types, politicians, business leaders and spiritual leaders. (I am choosing to ignore negative elements in the society like criminals, gangsters, terrorists etc. )

Now look at what makes the politician powerful. Votes, right? Who gives the vote, people like you and me. The common man, who typically considers himself powerless. Look at business leaders. Their power comes from their successful business. Their customers find their product or service useful and they pay. If their customer is another business, they have to sell their product / service to other businesses till they find an individual customer who will pay for all. Irrespective of what business they are in, their success depends on the success of value chain they are part of and whether the individual customer is ready to pay their value chain. Similarly, power of spiritual leaders come from faith and trust of their followers, without which it would be difficult for them to exert their influence.

Vote, money and faith are the sources of power of a common man, which they often give away without thinking much and later complain that they are powerless.
Similarly, at your workplace, look for your sources of power. It may be your performance, it may be your relationship with customers or suppliers, it may be some special skill you possess, it may be the way you handle crisis or it may simply be your opinion. If you haven't found it so
far most probably it is something which you consider worthless but is secretly valued by your organization.

Those we think are powerful are actually power aggregators, the actual power lies with those who have vote, money or faith or whatever else the power aggregators are looking at.

Power to make change happen lies at every level. Those who complain don't know where the power lies, those who know don't remain powerless.

No comments: