I was asked to sketch up some ideas for a session on ‘storytelling’, and thought that i’d share some of the ideas here, as part of #WorkingOutLoud. These are just sketches, outline ideas, at this stage, although some are exercises i’ve run often.
Activity: Where are the stories?
Exercise to capture all the places that stories flow: formal channels, emails, WhatsApp groups, conversations over lunch etc
Categorise with tags for: formal, social,
Explore, the following factors for each:
1. Who owns the story
2. Where is it shared
3. How can people respond to it
4. Do they have an ‘awarded’, or ‘claimed’ permission
Activity: Cultural Graffiti
In this activity, we explore ‘graffiti’, how it’s used as a ‘claimed voice’, and where we think it sits within the organisation.
1. How consequence can silence the stories we need to hear
2. How permission can be claimed when it is not given
3. Anonymity in storytelling
4. Silencing stories, and how it rarely works
Activity: Narrative and Story
Drawing on the Social Leadership work, in this section, we explore the difference between ‘narrative’, which is the underlying structure, and ‘story’, which is the picture we paint upon it. For example, we could both tell a story about ‘Leadership’, but we would both use different words, even to describe the same thing. Leaders need to understand when it’s important that their ‘story’ is shared, verbatim, and when it’s just the narrative that needs to spread.
1. How trying to ‘own’ a story, when we simply need to share a narrative, can enable us to relinquish some control
2. How some stories grow stronger through the retelling
3. How we can use ‘narrative’ and ‘story’ to help us shape more compelling tales
Activity: Social Filtering and Amplification
Understanding how stories are filtered and spread: this looks at the magnetism of the story, considers relevance and timeliness, and how well ‘packaged’ a narrative is to be shared.
Groups seem to deem ‘authenticity’ in storytelling as key: so where do these leaders think authenticity comes from, and how can their earn it?
This activity sees the group identifying strong social figures, and describing the source of their authenticity. We also consider how authenticity can be shattered, and the consequence of it breaking
1. Personal authenticity
2. Organisational authenticity
3. The perils of betrayal and failure
4. Time as a factor of authenticity
Activity: Story Listening
Considers how we hear stories, and the ways that we can acknowledge, respect, recognise, or thank people, for them. Specifically, it looks at how ‘story listening’ is a key skill for Social Leadership.
1. Social recognition and reward
2. The power of pride
3. Respectful disagreement
4. Cultural diversity
Activity: Diagonal Storytelling
Consider how stories can be co-created through different levels of the organisation: how we move beyond our close tribe, to create and hear broad narratives, at scale.
1. How stories spread along lines of trust (horizontal more than vertical)
2. The benefits of diagonal storytelling, and techniques to enable it
Activity: Stories of Difference
This is a specific storytelling approach that seeks not to drive consensus, but rather to capture, narrate, and expand out, our areas of dissent. It looks at practically how we can do this, and how we can engage with respect to hear those stories with which we have no agreement.
1. How stories of difference are written
2. Respectful disagreement
3. Defining our problem space
4. Agreeing to dissent
5. Finding boundaries of agreement