Day 2 of our experiment: yesterday i asked you to consider the types of power that you use within your leadership. But power does not push stories through a system: often they are picked up and pulled. So we need to think about the types of ‘handle’ that a story may have, and the way it can be carried.
Sometimes a story can be picked up intact, and carried forward. This type of story offers no chance to ‘make it your own’. Formal stories shared by an Organisation, and cascaded down through the system are like this.
Other stories are full of holes…you can put something of yourself into them (perhaps something of the power you explored yesterday, like your Authenticity). You can actively consider the type of Story Handle you will build into a narrative.
Let’s consider four Story Handles:
1. Some stories provide you with an opportunity to ENGAGE: for example, this one! You can add your responses as a comment, so you have the clear opportunity.
2. Some stories invite individual INVESTMENT, they have space where you can invest your own personal narrative and dimension. For example, if we have a conversation about mental health, i may share a story about struggling with depression in my 20’s, and that may open up a space for you to share a personal story too. Disclosure of vulnerability is one way to create space, but there are others. For example, if i give you a story that you can share on to your team, by making it your own, then you may invest in it.
3. The ability to take OWNERSHIP is an important handle: if we have a conversation about cutting back on single use plastics, you can take direct action yourself, and make that story your own. Consider how this relates to ‘Authenticity’, when we looked at power yesterday.
4. Finally, RELEVANCE is an important Story Handle (and often sits alongside Timeliness – but i am only sharing four ‘handles’ here). If a story shows a clear and authentic truth, and is relevant to your activity now, it is safe to carry forward. But beware that this presents a risk as some stories are silenced because they are not immediately applicable.
- Do you create enough space in your stories for others to invest themselves?
- Do you feel you create structured opportunities to engage authentically (or do you seek conformity?)
- Think of a story that you have picked up recently, and consider the ‘handles’ that it carries.
Maybe you can think of different types of Story Handles? Leave a comment with your reflection, or comment, below.