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What stories have you been steeping in?

Stories are unfolding around us in every moment. We are awash with them. We are at the confluence of many powerful stories all competing for attention. Take the United States as an example:

  • The pandemic continues to surge with rising numbers in most places. Whether you believe this is really happening depends on the storyline you've been following.
  • Racial unrest is continuing, but the story of what unfolds from this point is uncertain. The dominant storyline seems to keep being reinforced.
  • The southern coastline is being pounded by the landfall of Hurricane Laura. Stories about the devastating effects of Katrina are sure to be rising in the minds of those who went through that event. The devastation of those times put the difference between affluent and poor communities into sharp relief.
  • In California, the redwoods are burning. I'm reimagining my time underneath their canopies, sad at their loss and grateful I was once there. What does the loss of these 1,000 year...
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An Organizational Powerhouse – The Four Roles of Story (Part 3)

Story is already the currency of organization. We trade stories all day, every day, no matter where we work or live. That means they are the lifeblood of every organization, determining its health, well-being and future viability. If you want to story to become an agent of future potential, though, there are four roles you might want to take a closer look at.

ANTHROPOLOGIST: Discovery

Consider yourself an anthropologist and use story as a way to look at organizational culture. Ask yourself the question: “What’s here?” and do some fieldwork. What stories are being told? What’s their focus? Are they positive or negative? Who is telling them? Who doesn’t get to tell stories or who is marginalized? What’s the impact of the stories?

You can tell a lot about the health and connectivity of an organization by the stories being told. So what is alive in the system (s) you are part of? What kind of a StoryField are they? Since any person, place or...

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How Story Supports Groups Getting Results – The perfect practice partner (Part 1)

One of the best ways to stretch the boundaries of your thinking is to be asked to do something new. Last week I offered a workshop I’d never done before: “Storytelling for Facilitation and Group Work” and it caused me to think about how and why I apply story in the groups I’m supporting.

I began creating my workshop by thinking about what training, facilitating and hosting are trying to do and mapping how story can support this work. Then I took a closer look at how story can support the wave of how participants move through a group process together. And finally, I took a look at roles story can play in organizational and group settings.

What training is trying to do

I see training, facilitating and hosting as three distinct but overlapping parts of a continuum of group work. At its essence, training is trying to get something in. A trainer is working with a group to present information and integrate knowledge. 

Of course, these are not enough on...

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