A short #WorkingOutLoud post, following yesterday’s introduction of the draft content for the Social Leadership Storytelling Certification that i’m developing throughout June. The image below is intended to illustrate the design approach: introducing key ideas, to provide a framework of knowledge, building capability in the use of specific tools, through rehearsal and feedback, and grounding the Certification in personal experiments, run in the context of your own organisation or community.
Examples of each may be as follows: ‘Types of Power’ is an idea that sits within the ‘Foundations of Storytelling’ section. It explores what type of power you use behind your story: is it a story of dissent, a formally told story, a community held belief, it is a story of data, or a story of opinion, does it rely on your reputation for it’s power, or your position within the hierarchy? Understanding the ‘idea’ of types of power, as well as some of the research behind it, is valuable when it comes to actively considering our Storytelling capability.
Beyond that, we need ‘techniques’ for Storytelling. ‘Diagonal Storytelling’ is one idea, where we bring together e.g. six people, two senior, two mid level, and two junior, and ask them to share a story (e.g. our purpose) from each perspective, then interpret their story, referencing underlying power. How does position impact how we tell a story, and how we hear it. The diagonal nature of this approach also cuts through hierarchy, providing grounded opportunity and access to seniority, as well as the chance to engage in different perspectives.
In terms of an ‘experiment’, we may consciously try to use different types of power in our own practice, or perhaps analyse e.g. ten ‘organisational’ stories that we encounter, and categorise the type of power that they draw upon.
Ultimately, excellence as a Storytelling Leader will not come from simple case studies or examples (in the Conditions for Community research from 2017, only 1% of respondents asked for examples of great stories, whilst over 50% asked for opportunity and coaching to develop their practice).
A Storytelling Leader will not have one style, but rather an understanding of how stories work, a range of tools in their capability, and an ability to be fluid, and responsive, in application.