Katalina Groh, Larry Prusak:
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|Storytelling to ignite change: Steve Denning|
the same story
What you find when you do this, is that people start to tell the same story. Shortly after I told that story about Pakistan to the president of the World Bank, I was in a meeting, about a month later, a very large meeting in the World Bank, with several hundred people, lots of outsiders, a high profile occasion, and someone else told the same story, the Pakistan highways story. And the president was there, and the presenter made the presentation and in the course of it, told the Pakistan story. And immediately after the presentation was over, the president of the World Bank intervened and said, “Well, you told the Pakistan highways story, but you didn’t tell it in the right way. Let me tell you the Pakistan story the way it is meant to be told.” And he proceeded to tell the
| Pakistan story. And he told it very
well. He told with verve, with flair, and with passion.
This happened in part because that story, the Pakistan highways story, had in effect become part of him. It had become part of his very sense of identity, and his sense of identity of the organization. So for someone to tell the story in a different way was a kind of infringement on his sense of identity and he couldn’t let it go by without intervening and telling the story the way it should be told.
It’s this phenomenon captured in this wonderful Brazilian proverb: “When we dream alone, it’s just a dream. But when we dream together, it is the beginning of a new reality.”
So we are talking about getting going a process of collective dreaming together, to imagine what the world could be like. And if you can get that process going, then in fact the world does in fact starts to resemble the dream. Before you know it, the dream starts to become a reality.
We often imagine that practical reality is hard and intractable and difficult to change. What we don’t always realize that ideas are more powerful than this apparently hard intractable reality. If we can get the ideas going in the right way, the dream becomes the reality.
|Books and videos on storytelling
*** In Good Company : How Social Capital Makes Organizations Work
by Don Cohen, Laurence Prusak (February 2001) Harvard Business School Press
*** The Social Life of Information, by John Seely Brown, Paul Duguid
(February 2000) Harvard Business School Press
*** The Springboard : How Storytelling Ignites Action in Knowledge-Era Organizations
by Stephen Denning (October 2000) Butterworth-Heinemann
*** The Art of Possibility, a video with Ben and Ros Zander : Groh Publications (February 2001)
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