Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Power Move

"The first move that sets these energies into motion, like cutting a stretched rubber band, has been called a “power move” by systems thinker Barry Oshry. The power move then is one in which tremendous energies are unleashed.

What’s more, it is usually an individual who, waking up in the middle of the night, gets the idea that he or she must do something. Oshry claims that this thought of what to do comes with great clarity—and is often seen as a betrayal. (As Oshry points out, Abraham Lincoln, Anwar Sadat and Yitzak Rabin are good examples of leaders who went beyond their official mandates in order to change a situation that was dramatically stuck. All three were shot for their troubles.)

The first move, an act of self-nomination, is profoundly undemocratic. It is “paradigm shattering” because it changes the rules of the game. It is a move made by an individual tired of endless committee meetings and discussions that change nothing. It’s the move made by someone who is profoundly tired of being subject to power, the logic of which is beyond their rational understanding (think of all those moments of anonymous bravery during periods such as the Holocaust). To make the first move is to risk everything; it is to make the ultimate wager.

Fraught with risk and danger, the first move is made by someone who sees, in a moment, that he or she actually has the capacity to change a world. The defining act of leadership, the first move, increasingly, is rarely practiced by those who call themselves leaders and is more frequently found amongst those that don’t."

"The defining moment in the life of any group is that historic moment where they are called to act in an instant, with perfect trust and co-ordination."

From The Six or Seven Axioms of Social Change: Margaret Mead's Gift by Zaid Hassan

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