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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 ultimate process partner (Part 2)

Inviting story into the room with you is one of the best choices you can make for group success. It easily flows across the way a group naturally performs and can support the cohesion, coherence and results a group achieves. Here’s how…

Sam Kaner and his colleagues identified and named the parts of how a group works together in his seminal work “Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making”. In the Art of Hosting practice field, we call this the “Breath Pattern” and we use its parts – divergence, emergence and convergence – as a guide for designing great group process. 

Making friends with the Breath Pattern

Whether a group is meeting for one hour, multiple days, or longer this pattern naturally repeats itself, just like humans continue to breathe in and out. Knowing about it — and surfacing it to the group – can make the work easier. It’s not that this is a “bad” group because it is...

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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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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 1)

This is my rewrite of a series of blogposts from 2017, formulated into a chapter for a new book being published in 2019.  It comes in three parts, covering six perspectives I’m working with on the power of stories and what colleagues David Hutchens, David Drake and I call “The Three Waves” of story. Given the current backdrop of politics, conflict and polarised opinion, it feels to me that the waves are ringing truer than when we first spoke of them years ago. A warning for readers — these will be meaty posts, but well worth the effort!  Find Part 2 here and Part 3 here.

Story is the New Black

These days we call everyone a storyteller – our authors, songwriters, business leaders, activists, celebrities, social media stars – even our politicians.  Over the past decade especially, storytelling has gained ground not only as a marketing and communications tool, but also as a leadership imperative. Leaders are flocking to learn how...

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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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