Things are changing so fast that leaders and managers need to adapt their operations almost daily. One of the most powerful tools I use to help clients lead through change like this is a simple story circle. This is how it works.
The only thing that seems certain these days is uncertainty. Not knowing what the future will look like makes planning seem impossible. One of my favourite tools is also one of the oldest, with roots in the military - scenario planning.
Organizations rarely design jobs and work activities explicitly to be engaging. They just assume that engagement will magically happen; if people show up for work, they must be engaged. Not true – as employees currently sitting through hours of mind-numbing video meetings know. If we want engagement, we need to design for it.
As an introvert myself, I confess that I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit pretending to be on my phone to avoid making small talk at events. But in recent years, I’ve found a better way to connect with strangers and start long-lasting relationships.
People don’t want you to rescue them. They want you to help them become the hero of their own story. That means that you need to make a fundamental shift in the way you develop and sell your product, service, strategy or thing.
The last few years have felt like I was trapped in Pokémon hell. Running around chasing SMART goals – tracking my weight, sleep, steps, food, spending and dog poops – and juggling productivity apps like a circus freak. It’s been exhausting. And it’s not working – for me, anyway. So I’m trying something new – a story-based approach to improving my life that includes a problem, quest and resolution.
“I think it's safe to say that everyone cares about something. So, if they can ignite the storyteller inside of themselves and use that story to create change where they want to see it – and about something that they love – then I see that being the next movement. That is how change will happen.”
The best part about thinking about your quest for change as a story designer is that you can prototype or test out each part before committing to it. If something doesn’t work for you, you haven’t lost anything. You can simply throw out that idea and move onto the next one.
Thanks to research by neurologist Paul Zak, we now know that people are more likely to give money to a cause when presented with a story than when given facts. So if you want your campaign to succeed, you need to build it around stories.
The AI method was quite new to some on the strategic team that hired me and they were uncertain about its effectiveness - so I was under considerable pressure to make it work. "If this bombs, the blast will be heard across campus in seconds."
I came home last night after a couple of hours away to discover that one of my dogs, (yes I know which one), had chewed up my favourite polarized sunglasses ... What happens to performance when we focus on negative stories?
For two hours, participants shared and analyzed stories of personal experiences in related areas (doing business locally and making change in community). Their analysis generated rich intel that revealed the traits and strengths unique to the population in the Corridor. These included an affinity for "rational risk-taking", powerful vision, commitment to community and - interestingly - a preference for working collaboratively.
Why do I make such a fuss about this? Because folks get so sucked into the details of figuring out the form their story presentation will take, that they never learn how to design a story that is memorable, engaging, informative, inspiring.
Yesterday was my first outrigger race in a couple of years - intensely fun. We didn’t finish DFL (Dead F’ing Last) and the deluge held off. After, at breakfast, we were re-hashing the race before we even got coffee. “Did you see those two boats beside us collide?!” The thing that's cool about this is that --
In a planning meeting yesterday for a trip to a developing country, to explore options for launching a new project, we identified the need to start out by telling our origin story. We didn’t call it that - we talked about how we’ll have to “position” ourselves, explain why we’re there (our problem), what we’re hoping to do (our quest) and why we think it matters to the people who live there (our solution) ...