McConnell Foundation - leadership story lab

As the McConnell Foundation prepared to enter a new era, with a new incoming CEO and strategy underway, they knew they needed to invest in their team, to improve their ability to tell their stories. Their goal was not just to strengthen the communication of their work to external audiences, but also to use the stories to clarify and ignite their core values and purpose.

Working with senior leadership, I ran a series of workshops to teach staff the fundamentals of story design for one month. Then, I coached each of them as they worked on their own story projects to share with the Board and other key stakeholders. In addition to the 1-1 work, we also connected for several lab sessions online to test out the stories and seek feedback.

At the end of three months, they shared their work and insights from the experience. As expected, they created insightful and engaging stories they could use to further their impact. However, the lab also had several unexpected outcomes.

First, it broke down silos and raised awareness about the kind of work different departments did across the organization. It revealed subconscious biases and beliefs among staff about each other and their partners. And it uncovered the hidden creative talent of several employees who were being under-utilized in their current positions – which created an opportunity for them to take on much more fulfilling work that also added value to the organization.