List
Print This Post Print This Post

Today, we are in front of daily wars of narratives: political, social, models of the world, futures, concept of Man.

In The World As It Is, a memoir of Obama’s White House by Ben Rhodes, who held several roles including Speechwriter and Deputy National Security Advisor, there is an episode in which the President seems to place storytelling  at the very top of his job description, extending it to those close to him. Literally he quotes: ‘Storytelling, that is our job’. And he was not referring to the function of speechwriting, as we know one that requires almost an alter-ego transformation to write what the leader wants to say, but not even himself knows it.

Over the years, I have become very curious and fascinated about the function of ‘speechwriter’ in USA presidencies, a function which has been held by incredibly smart people, on both sides of the USA American spectrum. Obama was a good storyteller himself, who very often would set aside the proposed speech and would hand rewrite it himself. The only thing that interfered with his storytelling abilities (did his anthropologist mother influence that?) was the strong ‘lawyer within’ which tended to put a premium in ‘explaining the logic’ and, in doing so, driving many people around him truly mad.

Storytelling wraps up intention, emotions and behavioural triggering in ways that no other leadership arsenal does. People remember stories, not bullet points.

Reflecting on storytelling as one of the five pillars of Viral ChangeTM, I can see that there are some characteristics of a story-leadership narrative that work brilliantly when used in combination. These are my experiential views, not a piece of ‘scientific research’.

Compelling: convincing, attention grabbing, impossible to dismiss, it wakes people up
Surprising: there is something unexpected, unusual, unpredictable, refreshing
Not  neutral: people may like it or not, agree or disagree, but they can’t be neutral about it
Pulling: it seems to produce some traction, perhaps a sense of belonging (‘I want to be part of that’, ‘I wish I could be part of that’). People feel some attraction, the opposite of a push: I feel the weight on me, a bombardment
Aspirational: It has a future underneath, it points to the future perhaps anchoring in the past. That angle is not entirely clear in historical narratives that tend to ‘explain the past’ to perhaps justify a present but often fall short of making clear sense of a future. Entire nation narratives have been built upon stories of ancestors crossing rivers that never existed, descending from lands that were fictional and settling in territories where they never left behind any archaeological footprint
Unique: if you can take this in. I know it’s difficult but nevertheless an aspirational feature. The test is simple: does this sound like my next door neighbour? (read competitor)
Human: since humanity is not a given anymore, this feature is not to be taken for granted

BTW, as anything else in leadership, it gets better with practice.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

12 rules, based on my proven Viral Change™ methodology, to counter attack the Covid-19 pandemic. An epidemic of the right behaviours, at scale, is needed.

Downloadable PDF versions in English and Spanish available.

 

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dr Leandro Herrero is the CEO and Chief Organization Architect of The Chalfont Project, an international firm of organizational architects. He is the pioneer of Viral ChangeTM, a people Mobilizing Platform, a methodology that delivers large scale behavioural and cultural change in organizations, which creates lasting capacity for changeability.
Dr Herrero is also an Executive Fellow at the Centre for the Future of Organization, Drucker School of Management. An international speaker, Dr Herrero is available for virtual speaking engagements and can be reached at: The Chalfont Project.
His latest book, The Flipping point – Deprogramming Management, is available at all major online bookstores.

 

 

Keep up with the Daily Thoughts

Twitter Email

Would you like to comment?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To search my website, please use the form below.

  Daily Thoughts

June 6th, 2023

Culture change is not long and difficult. But we make it so…

I suppose the question is how long is long and how difficult is difficult? In general, business and organizational consulting have […]

May 19th, 2023

Value is an overused term in business and, as such, it’s becoming meaningless

Value, as usually used, means transactional monetary value. Usually it doesn’t mean intrinsic value, or value per se. For example, […]

May 4th, 2023

The importance of ‘critical thinking.’ Your own critical thinking is more effective at making your workplace better than any generic employee survey.

Build your own Employee Engagement argument for free. You can’t go wrong. Here are three baskets full of concepts: Basket […]

April 21st, 2023

´Busy-Ness’ Is A Trap

I went to a big conference where I was introduced by the chairman like this: “Welcome everybody. Lovely to have […]

April 14th, 2023

Training and culture change. The love affair that ends in tears.

It seems to be very hard for people to get away from the idea that if we just put individuals […]

April 11th, 2023

Teamocracies and Networkracies have different citizens: in-Habitants in team-work, riders in net-work

The old view of the organization is something close to the old concept of a medieval city, where citizenship was […]

April 5th, 2023

3 Ways To Get Approval From Your CEO Or Your Leadership Team

Way number 1: My team has developed these three options, A, B and C. Which one do you want us […]

March 29th, 2023

A Cheat Sheet To Create A Social Movement Tip = to shape organizational culture since both are the same.

Mobilizing people. This is another of the Holy Grails (how many have I said we have?) in management. Whether you […]

March 16th, 2023

Critical Thinking Self-Test: A 10 Point Health Check For Your Organization And Yourself. If any of these are a good picture of your organization, you need to put ‘critical thinking’ in the water supply.

Test yourself, and your organization. Do any of these apply? Doing lots, too fast without thinking. High adrenaline, not sure […]

March 9th, 2023

A culture of safety or a culture of training in safety?

Cultures are created by behaviours becoming the norm. Safety is at the core of many industries. Significant budgets are allocated […]

March 2nd, 2023

Empowerment is an output. If you can visualize it, you can craft it.

The real question is, what do you want to see happening so that you can say ‘people are empowered’? Employee […]

February 24th, 2023

A simple question will jumpstart your organization into change. It will also save you from months of pain spent reorganizing your people and teams.

The following line will short-cut months of (building) ‘alignment’, integration, reorganization, team building, coalition building, and any situation in which Peter, […]

February 20th, 2023

Lead Via Peer-To-Peer Networks – If you don’t lead via peer-to-peer networks, you’re only driving your car in first gear.

Peer-to-peer work, transversal, spontaneous or not, collaboration, peer-to-peer influence, peer-to-peer activities of Viral Change™ champions or activists, all of this is the […]

February 7th, 2023

Write a script, not a strategic plan

If you care about the journey and the place, you need a story. If you have a good, compelling one, […]

January 26th, 2023

3 self-sabotaging mechanisms in organizations

Organizations, like organisms, have embedded mechanisms of survival, of growth and also of self-sabotage. These are 3 self-sabotage systems to […]

January 10th, 2023

Who should be involved in culture change? All inclusive versus going where the energy is.

Many times, in my consulting work, I find myself facing a dilemma: Do I involve many people on the client’s […]

December 23rd, 2022

Tell what won’t change – Introducing 1 of my 40 rules of change

In any change programme that any organization wants to start, they will start by thinking of the things that they […]

December 16th, 2022

Scale It – Introducing 1 of my 40 rules of change

When creating effective change in any organization, there are 40 rules that, in my experience, are the key between success […]

December 5th, 2022

Assets & Strengths Base – Introducing 1 of my 40 rules of change

For more than 30 years I have been involved in ‘change’ in organizations. Again and again, some fundamental principles, and often […]

November 25th, 2022

Campaign It… is 1 of my 40 rules of change

When you filter out the noise, when you try to extract the core, the fundamentals, those ‘universal rules’ of change […]

October 31st, 2022

Hybrid or not hybrid? That’s not the question…

Culture is the new workplace If you want to have a conversation about the future of work, the nature of […]

October 24th, 2022

‘Powered by Viral Change™’: A Social Transformation Platform for the organization of the 21st Century

When we started to work on Viral Change™, as a way to create large scale behavioural and cultural change, and […]

October 14th, 2022

Corporate tribes, intellectual ghettos and open window policies

We talk a lot about silos in organizations usually in the context of Business Units or divisions. But these are not […]

October 7th, 2022

Peer Networks are the strongest force of action inside the organization

Peer-to-peer works, transversal, spontaneous or not, collaboration, peer-to-peer influence, peer-to-peer activities of Viral Change™ champions or activists, all of this is […]

September 30th, 2022

Change that doesn’t deliver change-ability is a waste

The traditional model of change is the one I call ‘destination’ type, that is, how to go from A to […]

September 23rd, 2022

Company structures: aggregate and disaggregate

New organizations, and old ones in the business of transforming themselves, would be better off learning by heart these two […]

September 15th, 2022

3 Self-Sabotaging Mechanisms in Organizations

Organizations, like organisms, have embedded mechanisms of survival, of growth and also of self-sabotage. These are 3 self-sabotage systems to […]

September 2nd, 2022

The best organizational model is to have more than one under the same roof

Command and control management has fewer friends, and it’s quite terminally ill as well. The heirs are fighting for a piece […]

August 26th, 2022

Unprecedented Times? Sure. Let’s Move On Please.

Somewhere in the post-Covid peak, I promised myself that I wasn’t going to pay attention anymore to anything that starts with […]

August 19th, 2022

Engagement, Empowerment and Ownership Culture Meet at One Single Point. Obvious, Simple and Incredibly Forgotten

Employee engagement efforts, ownership values and empowerment behaviours must meet at one point. It’s simple, not terribly controversial, based upon […]