‘Power-with’ is mode of organising people in a collaborative framework. The power-with approach engages collective intelligence and wisdom, allowing individuals to contribute to their team’s collective domain with autonomy and cooperation.
In sociocracy, the power-with approach assigns authority to the collective who have the expertise in a particular area/field. Team members use patterns of process (i.e. consent decision-making, elections, proposal generation) which are agreed ‘structures’ guiding and distributing leadership throughout a team.
Power-with moves authority from a minority (e.g. ’the boss’) to the collective whole. A team is therefore co-responsible for achieving their aims and objectives, and equally responsible for responding to outcomes and consequences of their decisions and actions. They share a diversity of perspectives and skills contributing to decisions, while sharing accountability and responsibility.
For example: to decide how they will store company records, an administration team using sociocracy determine the process together. Consent decision-making solicits Clarifying Questions and Reactions rounds to elegantly gather responses to a proposed system, eventually determining one to which they can all consent. Their ‘boss’ is all of them acting together as ‘sensors’ of how they’re achieving their aims, or not, through this decision.
Power-with also extends to the organisational level. Authority is delegated to the a team with the expertise and skills so that key organisational tasks are performed by those who know what they’re doing. Importantly, one team (e.g. a board of directors) does not carry authority to tell another team what to do to achieve their aims; while each team is responsible to meet their aims to ensure the organisational mission is fulfilled.
[ Sociocracy is a collaborative decision-making framework for groups, large and small; supporting collective aims to be achieved effectively, transparently and with equal-value of members ]
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