What is Power?

Writing and The Written Word

First and foremost, power is personal. Our perception of a situation has much to do with our ability to affect a situation. Therefore, power is each person’s ability to influence a situation. When a person has no ability to influence their situation (even, if as a result of an inaccurate personal belief), they have no power.

Definition of Power

Power is each person’s ability and willingness to influence a situation.

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The Law of Power

Writing and The Written Word

The Law

The fundamental law of power is that it is situational, multifaceted, dynamic, and perishable.

Power is Situational

Power is without a doubt situational, a person who is very politically powerful, but having no wilderness knowledge or skills, find themselves alone in the middle will have less ability to save themselves, than an experienced woodsman.

Power is Multifaceted

Power has many attributes (social influence, mental reference, innate ability, and situation), which aggregate to provide the total of your power at in given time and in any given situation

Power isDynamic

As a person’s situation changes, their ability to influence the situation can be increased, decreased, and/or lost. Also, facets of power are not static but are morphed by change.

Power isPerishable

A person can, through inaction, lose the ability to influence a situation forever.

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Management Principles – You can’t Manage what you don’t Measure

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Management and Measurement

You can’t manage what you don’t measure is an old management adage that has been used for many years and while most attribute it to Peter Drucker, some claim that the quote was first used by Dr. W. Edwards Deming, although it is a bone of contention whether or not the quote is used in the correct context.

Irrespective of who said it first, I have always agreed with the principle. Coming from a corporate background where this is one of the management principles often used, I was surprised to learn that there are those that strongly disagree with the statement. This group argues that there are many things being managed at work that aren’t measurable, from the confidence we instill in a new, young manager, to the quality of new hires.

The argument is made that quantity is easy…

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Poem – A Smile

Writing and The Written Word

Let others cheer the winning man,
There’s one I hold worthwhile;
Tis he who does the best he can,
Then loses with a smile.

— anonymous poem, found in The Book o Virtues, ed. by W. J. Bennett

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The Ills of Knowing Too Much

Writing and The Written Word

There is nothing more disenchanting to man than to be shown the springs and mechanism of any art. All our arts and occupations lie wholly on the surface; it is on the surface that we perceive their beauty, fitness, and significance; and to pry below is to be appalled by their emptiness and shocked by the coarseness of the strings and pulleys.

–Robert Louis Stevenson

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The Difference Between Hearing And Listening

Writing and The Written Word

Listening impacts how we relate to the natural world and
especially with regard to social interactions. Hearing really is about
receiving sound via the years, which for most of us is done pretty much without
much consideration or concentration. People
spend most of their time hearing and not actually listening. This isn’t
necessarily a bad thing, but it can become a bad habit, especially, if those
missed opportunities to listen and to mentally process the information
presented to us deprives us of opportunities to succeed in life or lease to
avoid some unwanted outcomes.

Listening is a more intermittent process and requires the listener to not only receive sounds but to recognize them as having some meaning, to mentally process that information, and ultimately to act on the information.

People frequently hear but far less frequently listen. The
active processes and listening of recognizing…

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we pay too much attention to reformers

Writing and The Written Word

…there is entirely too much attempt at reforming in the world and that we pay too much attention to reformers.

— Henry Ford

Related References

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