Transform Power

Make it work for solidarity, not against it.

Plan to transform power

The Power Framework reveals how power appears in many ways within organisations. From how resources are shared to rules, policies, and governance.

It also draws attention to aspects of power that may be hidden and harder to predict – to people’s consciousness and capabilities, and the cultures that form when they gather and work together.

The Power Framework reminds us that power is everywhere – so strategies for change can begin anywhere.

The aim is for power awareness to run through your organisation like a stick of rock, manifesting in every policy, decision, exchange and plan.

The Power Framework

Use this tool to think about how power is manifesting in different situations, and the action you can take to address power imbalances and create greater solidarity. You can use it for a single event or an entire organisational strategy.

Develop consciousness and capabilities

Every change-maker is part of the systems of power they are trying to transform. You need to commit to interrogating your own assumptions – and the limits of your own perspective – before considering how to support the consciousness and capabilities of others.

Share resources

You cannot ‘share’ power unless you share resources. This means paying people fairly, whether their knowledge draws on lived or learned experience or both. Technology, funds, relationships and jobs are all resources that some in social sector organisations have greater access to than others. Don’t overlook the value of resources that your organisation doesn’t create itself, eg creative actions or community cohesion.

Create inclusive cultures – and disrupt exclusionary ones

Deeply ingrained assumptions, behaviours and relationships are ‘the rules of the game’ – obvious to some but not to others – that maintain the status quo. Shifting the culture of the social sector requires diligent effort to make it visible and challenge exclusionary language and practices.

Rethink policies and governance

Formal structures, policies and governance are ways of making power visible. They can mitigate against abuses of power and hold organisations and the people who work in them to account. But these same processes can (and do) exclude the very people that organisations need as partners in change – especially if they’re poorly designed or overly bureaucratic.

Using the Power Framework

The framework can be used to uncover the barriers and opportunities for achieving deeper solidarity. Anyone can use it to plan action for change. With buy-in from staff and stakeholders it can be used to inform and plan a path to organisation-wide change.

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