Last month I asked a question - Why don’t we hear more stories in presentations? I didn’t know the real reason that time. Now I do. It is because: Managers are from Mars and Storytellers are from Saturn. Stephen Denning, the father of organizational storytelling, explains this in his book “The leader’s guide to storytelling: Mastering the art and discipline of business narrative”
Stephen himself hails from Mars. For several decades, as a manager in the World Bank, Stephen talked the Martian language of rate of return, cost-benefit analysis, risk analysis, performance targets, bottom line. I guess you get the point. Then one day, Stephen was “sent to
In June of last year, a health worker in a town in
This simple story had a remarkable effect on the audience and it helped World Bank staff and managers envision a different kind of future for the organization. Subsequently, knowledge management became an official corporate priority for World Bank and Stephen continued to use similar stories to maintain the momentum.
But the best of Stephen was yet to come. In fact, over the last few years he has developed organizational storytelling as a discipline. In “The leaders guide to storytelling” he looks at eight different uses of story—sparking change, communicating who you are, transmitting the brand, getting people working together, transmitting values, sharing knowledge, taming the grapevine and leading into the future—and the different narrative patterns associated with those uses.Stephen likes to think of it as the possible “sixth discipline” Peter Senge referred to in his classic “Fifth Discipline”; something as profound as the other five disciplines but perhaps more easily actionable. Bestselling author Chip Heath deservedly calls Stephen “The Warren Buffett of business communication”. I prefer to call him the “The Aesop of organizational innovation”.