Also: Schooling, and social class (both particularly relevant here in the UK).

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Updated. Thanks!

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Sep 12, 2023Liked by Kent Beck

A great list, and one that made me pause as I considered how many of these power dimensions I've exercised over the years as your basic middle-aged, slightly pudgy white guy: my height, moving quickly to the whiteboard, generally quick thinking, a fast reader with good recall, well spoken, and others, including (to my shame, as I look back on it now) some of the more destructive ones. I have, on occasion, been the one saying "I'm the senior engineer, so we're doing it this way", but I view those as very unfortunate exceptions to what I think has been a general habit of searching for good answers, instead of my answers. I mean, I'm vain enough to think that my answers are often good, but I've almost always found that they've been much improved by conversations with others.

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Sep 12, 2023Liked by Kent Beck

This is a really great list and it made me reflect on some of my own behaviours (being always among the first to draw “the right graph” on a whiteboard). This works well in societies with low power distance and high individualism. Power works differently in East Asian or Middle Eastern business environments.

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Sep 26, 2023Liked by Kent Beck

Really interesting piece and looking forward to seeing how you will discuss it in your follow up around ethical questions. I’m curious about your decision to label these as dimensions of power rather than dimensions of influence. “Power” generally having a more negative/oppressive connotation. Some of these obviously fall into that category like gender and race but many of these such as knowledge, storytelling and reputation are all important skills/traits that we should strive for

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Power is inevitable. The abuse of power is not. I'm old enough now to call a shovel a shovel.

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Sep 16, 2023Liked by Kent Beck

After some thoughts, here are few additional ways power can manifest in various contexts:

1. Digital Literacy: Familiarity with technology, software, and digital platforms can place individuals at an advantage in today's digital age.

2. Language Skills: Being multilingual, especially in globally important languages, can extend one's influence and reach.

3. Education: Holding degrees or qualifications from prestigious institutions can offer credibility and command respect.

4. Cultural Capital: Understanding and navigating different cultures effectively can bestow power, especially in diverse environments.

5. Mentorship: Having a mentor or being one can signify access to knowledge, networks, and influence.

6. Charisma: A magnetic personality can draw people in, making them more amenable to one's influence.

7. Resilience: The ability to bounce back from setbacks can be seen as a strength and can influence others.

8. Endorsements: Being publicly supported or endorsed by influential figures can greatly increase one's perceived power.

9. Access to Media: Having connections within, or control over, media outlets can shape public perception.

10. Expertise in Crisis Management: Those who can effectively handle emergencies or crises often earn respect and authority.

11. Negotiation Skills: Being an adept negotiator can position one favorably in various situations.

12. Integrity: A reputation for honesty and consistency can grant a form of moral authority.

13. Financial Acumen: Understanding and effectively managing money, investments, and economic trends can provide significant power.

14. Network: Beyond just professional connections, having a vast and varied network can open doors and opportunities.

15. Public Speaking: The ability to command a room and articulate ideas clearly can sway large groups.

16. Innovation: Those who can think outside the box and bring novel solutions to the table can gain considerable influence.

17. Trustworthiness: Being seen as reliable can lead others to confer power upon an individual.

18. Control Over Resources: Possession or control over scarce resources can bestow significant power.

19. Conflict Resolution Skills: Those who can mediate and resolve disputes can hold power within communities or organizations.

20. Legacy: The long-term impact of one's actions or creations can provide a lasting form of power, even posthumously.

21. Active Listening: The ability to listen, understand, and respond thoughtfully can foster trust and respect.

22. Adaptability: Flexibility in adapting to change can place individuals at an advantage in evolving situations.

23. Recognition: Receiving awards or public acknowledgment for accomplishments can amplify one's influence.

24. Time Management: Mastery over one's schedule and commitments can signal discipline and command respect.

25. Physical Presence: The way one carries themselves, from posture to physical fitness, can project confidence and power.

26. Affiliations: Being a part of, or leading, esteemed groups, clubs, or associations can extend one's network and influence.

27. Secrecy/Knowledge: Having exclusive information or insights can be a form of power, especially when others seek that knowledge.

28. Public Image: How one is perceived in the public eye, cultivated through PR or social media presence, can be a form of soft power.

29. Loyalty: Having a group or individuals fiercely loyal to you can greatly extend one's influence.

30. Longevity: In some contexts, simply having been in a field or position for a long time can confer respect and authority.

31. Patronage: The ability to grant favors, resources, or opportunities to others can be a source of power.

32. Credibility: A track record of accuracy, expertise, or consistency can make one's voice more influential.

33. Empathy: Understanding and resonating with others' emotions can lead to deeper connections and trust.

34. Decision-making: Decisiveness, especially under pressure, can be a sought-after quality.

35. Branding: A strong personal or organizational brand can attract followers, customers, or allies.

36. Risk-taking: Those willing to take risks and succeed may be seen as visionaries or leaders.

37. Inclusivity: Fostering an inclusive environment can lead to a broader base of support and trust.

38. Counseling Skills: The ability to offer advice or guidance, especially in difficult situations, can bestow a form of leadership power.

39. Strategic Thinking: Looking at the bigger picture and planning long-term can set certain individuals apart.

40. Philanthropy: Generosity and charity can win respect and can influence communities or sectors.

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Thank you for the additions! Wow. We now have a classification & organization problem. I'll think about how to address that.

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I'd probably come up with a categorization like this

1. Organizational Power:

Where you sit in the organization chart, Formal authority, Title/level, Geography (location of workplace), Organizational alignment (closer to the flow of money)

2. Innate Power:

Gender, Race, Accent, Height, Economic background, Expectations (from family or community), Facial/body genetics, Vision (eyesight quality), Memory capacity, Extraversion, Physical abilities

3. Behavioural Power:

Obscenity (being the first to use strong language), Anger (freedom to express), Humiliation (right to demean others), Personal style (unique identifiers like live music in meetings)

4. Knowledge and Skills:

- Fundamental Competencies: Literacy, Numeracy, Digital Literacy, Language Skills, Vocabulary

- Interpersonal and Emotional Skills: Reading people/groups/situations, Emotional self-awareness, Emotional articulation, Emotional regulation, Active Listening, Empathy, Conflict Resolution Skills, Counseling Skills

- Technical and Domain Expertise: Domain knowledge, Education related to a field, Publication in a specific subject, Financial Acumen, Expertise in Crisis Management

- Analytical and Cognitive Abilities: Forethought, Meta-cognition, Thinking on your feet, Strategic Thinking

- Communication Skills: Communicating graphically, Communicating with slides, Communicating in prose, Storytelling, Public Speaking, Argumentation

- Innovation and Creativity: Envisioning, Innovation

- Leadership and Management: Decision-making, Negotiation Skills, Time Management, Risk-taking

5. Societal and Relational Power:

Weight/fitness, Social connections, Professional connections, Age dynamics in a profession, Gravitas, Experience in diverse fields, Enthusiasm, Confidence, Manners, Historical knowledge, Reputation, Reading skills (people, groups, situations), Politics, Knowledge of literature, Forethought, Availability of free time, Economic power (money), Branding, Recognition

6. Personal Attributes and Habits:

Free time availability, Gym time, Thinking on your feet, Extensive vocabulary, Argumentation skills, Graphic communication, Slide communication, Prose communication, Storytelling, Envisioning future scenarios, Unique personal style (like starting meetings with a banjo)

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Reminds me of this: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbolic_violence

for a philosophical perspective on the topic

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Rule 1, 12 Rules of Life, Peterson. Be like a Lobster 🦞, "To stand up straight with your shoulders back is to accept the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open", holding the hierarchy:)

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