Storytelling is a great way to prompt introspection without putting people on the defensive. Do you ever wonder “What were you thinking?” or worse, “How does you sleep at night?” I do. Yet, any effort to “MAKE” someone think about his/her actions only pushes them away. If you really want them to back up and reconsider the effect they are having on the world, the best way I know is to tell a story that might prompt, in the privacy of their own mind, an internal dialogue that could produce a change of heart without ever having to admit they did something wrong. In most cases a “values in action” story can do the trick. [Read more…]
Share an experience via story about that person that brings him/her alive with detail. Your story of admiration and gratitude towards someone who embodies the qualities, skills, vision, or values you want to share, it demonstrates humility and gratitude. Humility and gratitude are vital in good leadership and are the essence of personal dignity. Your story provides clues for listeners to interpret – they may begin to associate that person’s qualities with your own. The only danger is if you push the association. Tell the story from a place of admiration and a light touch. There is nothing worse than telling a story about a character like Nelson Mandela in order to send the message that you and Nelson Mandela are just alike. You aren’t and it just turns people off. [Read more…]
When you hunt for a story, focus on the concept you need to illustrate and ask someone to help you come up with ideas. Once you have found one watch or read the scene again closely, pull out descriptions that set the scene in context for people who are not familiar with the big story. And tell it with sensory details (George Clooney in drag) that conjure strong images. Choosing a well-known book or movie takes advantage of all the hard work the author or director did stimulating senses and capturing attention. Make the story yours by adapting the format and style, including the details of how you came across this story, or by elaborating on what this story has meant to you and why you are sharing it. [Read more…]
Trust is lost when you treat someone fairly by your standards, yet unfairly by their standards. This doesn’t have to happen!! There are many completely valid definitions of fair: everyone shares equally…whoever works harder gets more…the rainmakers get the most (even if it doesn’t look like they work hard)…hey, the neediest get first dibs…none of which translates to the same distribution of resources . People think “fair” is obvious, but we need share stories that demonstrate what fair means to each person, so we can come up with a common definition of fair that avoids misunderstanding and protects mutual trust.
This picture was drawn by an employee of a large bureaucratic organization. When she lifted it up, there was a hush of recognition in the group. She said “This is me in the vice. But it could be any of us, really. We are all taking turns. All of these people are just waiting their turn. When we aren’t on the block getting screwed, we are helping turn the ropes and screwing each other.” The emotional content of this picture is powerful. Whereas, this group had verbally described their problem as having too much work and not enough support, this picture shows more of the story. It reveals how the group was contributing to their own misery by how they treated each other. [Read more…]