The way we think about power and how to wield it in the world as a force for good is changing. That was the thought-provoking message from the 2019 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition opening keynote by Henry Timms of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and Jeremy Heimans of Purpose.
Whereas old power has been and is held by a few and closed off to the masses, formal, exclusive, and values loyalty and institutions, new power is shared by many, peer-driven, and open to anyone willing to collaborate and participate.
While it may seem these two are at distinct odds with each other, Timms and Heimans said it’s not good versus bad or right versus wrong. In fact, when we reaffirm some of the old power qualities and combine them with new power means of communicating or engaging people, that is when we see some of the biggest results.
Associations, which often rely on old power and traditional forms of leadership, are going to have to evaluate where they are now and ask themselves where they want to go in the coming years. To really succeed in that evolution, it’s going to require a new power element to get there, but knowing when and whether to turn to a new power model can be difficult.
Look at these four areas, and start by asking targeted questions:
- Strategy: Is there a value to the crowd, and do they really need to be involved?
- Legitimacy: Do you have it, or are you more likely to be ignored or crowd-jacked?
- Control: Are you willing to cede some within set parameters, even if the outcome could be unexpected?
- Commitment: Can you sustain engagement with your crowd over time?
In the end, Timms and Heimans said real change will come, and it will allow all associations and individuals to use new power to help the least powerful among us.