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Imagining 2019

This is traditionally the time of year when people take a pause to reflect, reset and renew. It is a time for new year’s resolutions, a time when hope springs eternal about the potential and possibility of the new.  

And small wonder. In the Northern Hemisphere, December equinox marks the time of the shortest day and the longest night. It was a physical reminder of the intrinsic change of seasons, and a time when nature manifested the age old dance between darkness and light.  For our ancestors, light needed to be called back, and with it, the promise of spring and a new burst of life. The way Scandinavians keep candles burning and Americans love their Christmas lights is only the most recent manifestation of a very old tradition.

Winter has always been the time we’ve told stories, dreamed by the fire, imagined the new. No wonder it is the time many of us take to vision what the new year could be like. This year I’ve been co-hosting an online event called...

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Surfing the 3 Waves of Story (Part 3)

Here is Part 3 of my new book chapter on the six perspectives and three waves of story.  Find Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.

Story as a Resonance Tuner & as the Art of Practicing Humanity

In these days of social media likes, fake news and alternative facts, it’s easy to see that influence and how to wield it is top of mind for most leaders.  For this reason, I see storytelling as one of the key leadership capacities — being able to tell a compelling story about an organisation’s mission, about your community’s potential, or about your own vocation, is key to creating a more potent future or even having one! There are two ways story can power your leadership edge.

Next on the list for leaders, however, needs to be StoryWork.  Using stories to make collective sense and meaning builds a foundation for common ground.  To get to higher ground, however, a leader...

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Surfing the 3 Waves of Story (Part 2)

Story as a Learning Practice & Process Partner

The human mind is organised around stories.  We capture our experiences and make sense of the world through the stories that form our lens on reality.  Since our knowledge is captured in story form, it makes sense to use stories as one of the fastest mediums for organisational and group learning.  With these applications, story can move from an influences to a game changer.

The next two perspectives are:

  • Story as a learning practice
  • Story as a process partner

Story can form the basis of a systemic learning practice in these ways:

  • As an organisational currency
  • As a medium for learning in various configurations
  • As a knowledge management tool
  • For making collective sense and meaning
  • Creating connections and learning pathways

Whether you know it or not, story already is your organisational currency.  The stories people share about the organisation, their experience of it, the products or...

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Unpacking the privilege of the dominant narrative

It was really only about three weeks ago that I finally learned how to spell the word privilege.  It may take me much, much longer to really unpack the privilege I have.  And it wasn't that I was unaware that I had any, but that my life and work are bringing me new ways to shine a light on what that looks like and how it behaves.  And much of it has to do with the invisible dominant social narrative that demonstrates itself every day in ways so many of us who are part of it are blind to.

Last week I spent five days steeping in an intense conversation about race, power and privilege. We on the hosting team invited participants into what we called a "shaky sanctuary". We told them that discomfort doesn't mean you are unsafe, it means you are learning. It would be fair to say I am still recovering. And I've been distilling what I learned.

Over a lifetime of journeying around the world, I've bumped up against the edges of the dominant narrative many times.  Here are...

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Find the WHY behind your story

I haven't seen The Greatest Showman yet, but I'm predisposed to like movie musicals -- I got it from my mother. I'm also the person who loves stories -- the behind-the-scenes-what-really-happened-and-how-it-was -- kind of stories. That's why I love this one.

Seems it has taken Hugh Jackman eight years to get this movie made. His vision and commitment led the way for the project's greenlighting and was the inspiration for the entire cast. He also has the reputation for being a very good human and all-around nice guy, as well as being extremely multi-talented. He himself talks about loving to try things and play. All of these qualities make this an excellent example of purposeful and intentional leadership that creates a learning, creative environment. This clip shows what happened when he couldn't help himself but take up the charge. And everyone else responds! And if you listen to the words of the song, they are about a leader finding his deeper purpose -- the WHY behind his story.

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Happy New Year -- what's the new story of you?

So many of us believe new year seems to call for a new start.  Maybe we've done the review and reflection on the year gone by. We've sifted, and sorted and clarified.  We wrote a list of all the things we no longer want and one with all our intentions. We want to start fresh.  We want a new dream in 2018!

Here's the challenge:  New dreams call for changes.  They need attention.  So many resolutions are made, but it can be difficult to follow through.  Why?

Every dream -- every potential change -- is grounded in your story.  This is a great time to invite your story to partner you in the journey.

Whether you realise it or not, your personal story is the road your life is running on.  Do you like where it's taking you? When is the last time you had a deeper look at what helping -- or hindering -- you in reaching your dreams?

The pictures you see here are my own story -- yes, I did this exercise and even illustrated it, discovering a...

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