Mechanics of power
This page describes the organizational forces that limit change.  It explains how to overcome them when necessary. 

Power& tradition holding back progress
This page uses an example to illustrate how:
  • A business can gain focus from targeting key customers,
  • Business planning activities performed by the whole organization can build awareness, empowerment and coherence. 
  • A program approach can ensure strategic alignment. 
Be responsive to market dynamics
This page uses the example of HP's printer organization freeing itself from its organizational constraints to sell a printer targeted at the IBM pc user. 
The constraints are described. 
The techniques to overcome them are implied. 
Overcome reactionaries
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The mechanics of power in government

Summary
Jonathan Powell describes how the government of, the former UK is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. 
Prime Minister, Tony Blair, actually operated.  Powell was Blair's only chief of staff. 
The New Machiavelli
In Jonathan Powell's book 'The New Machiavelli' he paints a picture of a core team that includes a visionary leader Blair, integrative deputy John Prescott, strategists Peter Mandelson and Alistair Campbell, combative tactician Gordon Brown, and himself as operational manager; each striving to implement Blair's shared 'one nation' vision of modernizing the government, and the attitudes of the people, of the UK is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. 
so that the whole nation could leverage the changes happening around the world.  His vision was in sharp contrast to Margret Thatcher's divisive 'them and us' positions.  The nation's center responded positively to his vision, after many years of division, with conservatives voting for him. 

Powell argues that Blair has the two innate attributes needed to be an effective Prime Minister.  He is courageous and has great emotional intelligence.   He was therefore able to tackle challenging problems at times when the risks were high but he sensed the nation would be willing to follow, and dissenters in his party would see disagreeing with him as personally disadvantageous.  Blair is also competent, communicates well, and with charisma and charm.  Importantly he also dedicated time to being able to think through the big picture and reflected it in his vision. 

Broad acceptance of the vision enabled the strategists, Mandelson and Campbell, to transform the high level goals into practical executable steps that while periodically adjusted to circumstance were evidently leading towards the vision.  This is never straight forward, and Powell points out how for example campaign tag lines such as 'forces of conservatism' while immediately attractive made no sense when viewed through Blair's One Nation vision and his dependence on attracting middle of the road conservative voters!

The chief of staff could operationalize the executable steps within the ministries, managing timelines, actions and owners. 

Blair's team had to transform the nation through the Labour party, its members of parliament (MP) and the media.  Blair's cabinet are independent MPs, like feudal barons, chosen by him, as reflecting the broad views of the party and people, to be appointed senior government ministers.  The non-partisan civil service provides them access to the machinery of government. 

The pool of talent from which Blair could appoint his ministers was constrained.  They must be elected MPs or members of the upper house.  Powell points out that after many years of being unelectable the shadow cabinet and collected labour MPs were not necessarily the UK's best and brightest.  With a limited pool of appointees the choice of new ministers dwindles over time, since each time the Prime Minister replaces ministers he adds to the pool of MPs that he can't influence and reduces the untried pool of candidates.  consequently over time his ability to influence and lead did collapse. 

'Strong' Prime Ministers can leverage the focus of experts in a particular area of policy, and will limit the participants in the active process of decision, so that after deep probing well informed decisions are agreed quickly.  A strong Prime Minister is one with a large majority of MPs and support from the majority of the electorate.  Cabinet ministers will go along with the Prime Ministers team's recommendations when they are factually well thought through and the Prime Minister has correctly judged the broad agreement of MPs with the values.  Once a Prime Minister becomes weaker the decision making process will lengthen or stall for contentious policies.  The deputy Prime Minister role allows a Prime Minister to leverage an inclusive personality differs in at least five key ways:
  • Extroversion-introversion - whether the person gains energy from socializing or retiring
  • Neuroticism-stability - does a person worry or are they calm and self-satisfied
  • Agreeableness-antagonism - is a person courteous & trusting or rude and suspicious
  • Conscientiousness-un-directedness - is a person careful or careless
  • Openness-non-openness - are they daring or conforming
seen by most to fairly support the diverse views of the party. 

As such Powell argues that cabinet meetings focus on politics, not policy, and the minister's views and concerns should be understood prior to the meeting.  The cabinet acts as an integrative control aligning strategy with political reality.  If a political decision will not be accepted by the majority of MPs it can then be removed from the agenda. 

Cabinet ministers should share in the successes of the government, and take blame for some of the failures.  Powell's team spent a lot of time supporting the ministers.  But the cabinet ministers should also be expected to act as members of the Prime Ministers team, rather than focusing on themselves or their departments.  That tends to happen when the opposition is effective and threatening. 

While Blair appointed the chancellor to manage the treasury the role is, by its nature of managing the budgets and spending of the government, in conflict with the Prime Ministers aims of funding his key programs.  Gordon Brown was also a tactical political fighter, who resented Blair's becoming leader.  As such Brown was able to undermine Blair when he felt it would benefit his goal of getting Blair to stand aside.  Blair's solution to this challenge was to keep Brown close, rather than release him to the parliamentary back-benches where he could focus the growing group of ex-ministers on attacking Blair.  Brown remained pugnacious and while he did eventually become Prime Minister his many enemies and tactical nature undermined his political strengths and position. 

Powell laments that while Government's purpose is to get things done there are many inhibitors:

Neustadt and the media
The indirect nature of the power network forces the Prime Minister to be presented to the nation as a wizard of Oz: never ill and never wrong.  Otherwise the people are likely to panic when adverse events occur.  His extended team must be seen to agree with his statements and actions.  But he must also be well aware of the issues he is confronted with, and so needs to find worldly advisers of sound judgment who will speak the truth in private. 

Blair viewed partnerships with the major countries in Europe as key.  However, the Germans and French have structurally integrated and benefit from exclusively deciding on major European policies between themselves.  Blair's personal attributes made it easy for him to befriend some German and French leaders, but their core strategies are directly at odds with his vision. 

Powell argues that Blair's interest in internationalism and his idealism resulted in his agreeing to abandon the Westphalia Consensus and going to war with tyrants.  As such he got involved in five wars.  These were often in line with American war aims but his inclusive approach could be at odds with the US plans.  Powell also argues that the UK will only be accepted when acting above its weight if it provides value to the international community.  He views its ability to fight wars, in contrast to the ability of the current European Union (EU), as a key contribution. 

CAS agency in the UK Government
The application of
This page introduces the complex adaptive system (CAS) theory frame.  The theory is positioned relative to the natural sciences.  It catalogs the laws and strategies which underpin the operation of systems that are based on the interaction of emergent agents. 
John Holland's framework for representing complexity is outlined.  Links to other key aspects of CAS theory discussed at the site are presented. 
CAS theory
represents the UK is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. 
Government as a
This page discusses the effect of the network on the agents participating in a complex adaptive system (CAS).  Small world and scale free networks are considered. 
network
of 
Plans are interpreted and implemented by agents.  This page discusses the properties of agents in a complex adaptive system (CAS). 
It then presents examples of agents in different CAS.  The examples include a computer program where modeling and actions are performed by software agents.  These software agents are aggregates. 
The participation of agents in flows is introduced and some implications of this are outlined. 
adaptive agents
occupying
The position and operations of different agents within a complex adaptive system (CAS) provide opportunities for strategic advantage.  Examples of CAS agents leveraging their relative positions are described. 
significant positions
within an
This page discusses the mechanisms and effects of emergence underpinning any complex adaptive system (CAS).  Key research is reviewed. 
emergent
structure defined by the
This page discusses the physical foundations of complex adaptive systems (CAS).  A small set of rules is obeyed.  New [epi]phenomena then emerge.  Examples are discussed. 
post-world war 2 treaties, power structures and institutions
.  The structure extends out by
This page reviews the inhibiting effect of the value delivery system on the expression of new phenotypic effects within an agent. 
phenotypic alignment
to other countries.  Blair's team used various strategies:

In our analysis Blair achieved a considerable amount through his aligned leadership, and demonstrates how effective teams can transform a vision through
This page looks at schematic structures and their uses.  It discusses a number of examples:
  • Schematic ideas are recombined in creativity. 
  • Similarly designers take ideas and rules about materials and components and combine them. 
  • Schematic Recipes help to standardize operations. 
  • Modular components are combined into strategies for use in business plans and business models. 

As a working example it presents part of the contents and schematic details from the Adaptive Web Framework (AWF)'s operational plan. 

Finally it includes a section presenting our formal representation of schematic goals. 
Each goal has a series of associated complex adaptive system (CAS) strategy strings. 
These goals plus strings are detailed for various chess and business examples. 
ideas & plans
into executed strategies.  However, the seeds of his downfall are present within the nature of the Prime Ministers powers and his inclusive vision.  We hope you enjoyed our CAS analysis and are sure you will enjoy Powell's revealing book.  

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This page looks at schematic structures and their uses.  It discusses a number of examples:
  • Schematic ideas are recombined in creativity. 
  • Similarly designers take ideas and rules about materials and components and combine them. 
  • Schematic Recipes help to standardize operations. 
  • Modular components are combined into strategies for use in business plans and business models. 

As a working example it presents part of the contents and schematic details from the Adaptive Web Framework (AWF)'s operational plan. 

Finally it includes a section presenting our formal representation of schematic goals. 
Each goal has a series of associated complex adaptive system (CAS) strategy strings. 
These goals plus strings are detailed for various chess and business examples. 
Strategy
| Design |
This page uses an example to illustrate how:
  • A business can gain focus from targeting key customers,
  • Business planning activities performed by the whole organization can build awareness, empowerment and coherence. 
  • A program approach can ensure strategic alignment. 
Program Management
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