Vocationally speaking, do you find yourself stepping into a new world? If so, you realize that's a powerful story to tell, right? Here's how to tell your transition story so it becomes a source of differentiation and strength.
Are you telling your failure stories? You should! Here's how to do it so you increase – not lose – your leadership credibility!
As a production note: Sorry for the crazy loud electric guitar. I'll correct that in the next version. Until then, rock on my friends.
Check out my new video blog, The Two-Minute Storytelling Leader! For my inaugural entry, I tackle the challenge of scale -- which I see leaders struggle with all the time. Check it out. (I mean, it only takes two minutes!)
Whenever stories are being told, it is the listener who holds the power in shaping the meaning making experience. I think it is a big idea that is often overlooked in all of the current buzz around storytelling. I was really pleased with this 30-minute webinar that I delivered for the Grandview Group, and you are welcome to listen in for free below. Let me know what you think!
This was my second interview with the Story Powered radio show, and it was as wonderful an experience as the first. In this show, I'm interviewed by one of my favorite story practitioners, Karen Dietz. (Her "Just Story It" curation site on Scoop.it is one of the essential business story resources, and if you're not following it I urge you to do so.)
In this radio show, we talk about a subject that not too many people have asked me about from my book: fractal narratives. This is a concept that I developed based on my work in the world of organizational complexity theory, and I think it is an intuitive idea that stories are embedded within larger stories... and there is tremendous power for an organization when there is narrative similarity at those different levels of scale. Click below to listen in!
I loved being part of this podcast with Dr. Sally Fox, of Engaging Presence. We discussed storytelling as a meaning making construct -- one of my very favorite topics.
You can download this podcast now for listening in your car. It will be just like having me in the passenger seat! (Although a little bit more talky than would be the case.)
I always love being a part of the mighty "Coaching for Leaders" podcast, hosted by the generous and brilliant Dave Stachowiak. One of the many things I loved about this particular conversation was being called "not awkward." I've worked a long time to achieve that distinction...
Click below to listen, and be sure to subscribe to the rest of the terrific podcasts at "Coaching for Leaders."
I'm crazy about this thoughtful review of "9 Muse" by Cynthia Kurtz, and I'm going to ask you to go check it out for a few reasons.
1. Cynthia is one of the most innovative and disciplined thinkers in the organizational narrative space, and her work has been a big influence on mine. I have called her book on Participatory Narrative Inquiry the most important book on organizational storytelling and I stand by that. You need to check out Cynthia's book, her blog, her wonderful new story card game "Narratopia" and so much more. Click on the links, and go get immersed in her work.
2. In her blog, she makes a critical correction to an omission on my part in the book. The process for "Twice-Told Stories" exists in the world in a few iterations... but the name "Twice-Told Stories" comes from Cynthia. In the book I failed to acknowledge that. I want you to see how she handles that omission in her blog, because it says a lot about what it means to be part of a community of practice that is supportive, accountable, and generous. She could have made me feel awful about the mistake (or more awful than I already feel) but instead she is a model of collaboration. This is how you do it. And, I am glad to have this opportunity to reinforce her correction and set the record straight.
3. Plus, I just get jazzed by good reviews! If you want to make me smile, head on over to Amazon and leave some five-star goodness for me.
Happy new year, friends. Now go make some great stories.
Below is the full text of Cynthia's blog, as it appears at http://www.storycoloredglasses.com/2015/12/its-great-big-box-of-chocolates.html
I just now posted this review on Amazon.com. It's about David Hutchens' new book about stories in organizations, Circle of the 9 Muses: A Storytelling Field Guide for Innovators and Meaning Makers. I first heard about David's book project two years ago, and I've been an enthusiastic supporter ever since. I'm excited to see how well the book turned out. Five-star recommendation.
Here's the review:
Full disclosure: I work in the story field; I was one of the people David talked to while writing his book; I promised him I'd write a review.
Things I like most about "Circle of the 9 Muses":
1. It's a balanced look at the story universe.
If you start looking at what you can do with stories, you will find lots of information about what you can do by TELLING stories, usually to convince people to buy or do something. There's nothing wrong with that! But telling stories only scratches the surface of what you can do with stories. LISTENING to stories is just as amazing, if not more so, and it's not well represented in books and other information. I was excited to see that "Circle of the 9 Muses" gives storytelling and story listening/sharing roughly equal time. That makes the book uniquely useful if you want to learn about a wide range of possibilities in story work.
2. It draws on collective wisdom.
David is an experienced practitioner of story work, and he could have written a book using just what he knows. But he didn't do that. He reached out to dozens of people in the story field and drew from all of their experiences as well as his own. So what you're getting in this book is a unique distillation of LOTS of great ideas about doing things with stories. You could think of it as a story-work sampler. Of course, there are aspects of story work David doesn't cover. I would have liked to have seen exercises drawn from narrative therapy and participatory theatre, and lately I've been learning more about narrative coaching, where there is even more to discover. But those are small omissions, and this book will definitely get you started on the right foot.
3. It's a great big box of chocolates.
The most exciting thing about David's book, to me, is that every one of its eighteen chapters gives you real methods you can use right now. For the chapters with methods I know well, I can vouch that the steps David describes work well (and aren't hard to make work well). The chapters I don't have direct experience with I'd like to try. That's saying a lot, given that I've been working in this area for sixteen years. If the chapters in this book seem like they are worth trying, you're right: they are worth trying. Now you know how.
4. It's a great big box of CHOCOLATES.
I always say that story work is bigger on the inside than the outside. From the outside, it looks small, silly, useless, just another fad. But when you come inside, you can see a whole universe of meaning and relevance. David's book does an excellent job of drawing you inside the world of stories by communicating the excitement of story work - without promising that it will always be fast, easy, or perfect. In the process he lets out our most important secret: story work is important, ancient, and powerful.
In summary, I can definitely recommend "Circle of the 9 Muses" as an inspiring, practical, useful introduction to story work.
There were two things I didn't mention in my Amazon review, because I don't think people reading Amazon reviews would find them useful.
The first thing is that I was ever so slightly disappointed to see that David forgot to fix an issue with the "Twice-Told Stories" chapter. Evidently Paul Costello and I developed pretty much the same story exercise around the turn of the century. I knew nothing about this parallel work until I saw David's manuscript about a year ago. I had described the "twice-told stories" exercise in my book's first edition in 2008. Nobody ever told me that anything similar existed, or I would have been sure to mention it in my book revision.
I'm not surprised that we developed a similar exercise, because the exercise fits very well into the ways people naturally exchange stories. It did take my colleagues and me a year of research and testing to develop the exercise, and I assume something similar happened to Paul and his colleagues. The two exercises are not identical because our purposes were not identical, but they are close.
So why does Circle of the 9 Muses use my name for someone else's exercise? Apparently David talked to Paul first, but he also remembered reading about the exercise in my book, and he put the name of the exercise from one place together with its history from another place. I noticed this about a year ago and pointed it out to David. He told me he would change the chapter to say that Paul and I independently derived very similar exercises, and that the chapter name comes from my version. Apparently in the rush of publication he forgot to do that. I can understand that; I've done similar things myself. It takes a lot of careful attention to draw together the work of many people like David did. I don't think anybody could pull off a task like that without forgetting a few details.
I don't mind if people think Paul Costello was the only one to develop that particular exercise. I don't need to own it; story work belongs to everyone, and lots of similar ideas have been independently derived. My concern is that it might be confusing to my book readers to find another book with the same exercise attributed to someone else. I wouldn't want people to think I stole the exercise or lied about my work on it. I have added a mention of Paul's method to the errata page on my book's web site, just to make things clear.
The second thing I didn't say in my Amazon review is, even though I loved David's book, it did point out to me how terrible of a job we story workers have been doing on keeping up with each other. I should not be finding out about the work of other people in the same field by reading a book about it. I did want to participate in the Golden Fleece conferences when they were happening, but at the time I was a low-level employee/contractor at IBM and had no power to choose my own destinations. By the time I started my independent practice and could have participated in meet-ups (theoretically), the Golden Fleece was long gone. I did participate in some of the Worldwide Story Work phone-in sessions, but I don't believe those are still going on.
Lately some colleagues and I have been trying to create a community around PNI with the new PNI Institute. Our monthly Google hangouts are slowly gaining traction, and that's great, but I'm not sure if everyone who does any kind of story work wants to join us there (though you're welcome of course). In fact, our next hangout, on January 8th, is a repeat call about PNI as it relates to the world of story work. (Calls are always the second Friday of the month, at 10am New York time.)
How about a new discussion about bringing together people who do every kind of story work?
One of my favorite podcasts last year was this one with David Stachowiak of the mighty "Coaching for Leaders" podcast. Dave listed this as one of his "top 5 conversations" for the year 2014. I can't believe I failed to post it here! Check it out... and then in about a month I will be back on the Coaching for Leaders podcast with more storytelling fun. I'll let you know.
For several years now I've been a friend and a fan of Tom Heck and his organization, International Association of Teamwork Facilitators. Tom has built an incredibly engaged and generous community, and I will jump at any chance to collaborate with them. If you do any team development work, Tom's community is an essential resource. Check them out here.
It never fails that my favorite webinars are the ones that are unscripted, and where I just have an open dialogue with the participants. I never know where it will go, and that makes it fun. That was the case with this hour-long dialogue. We discussed the "four core stories" of leadership; the role of the team as interpretive community; and much more.
You can check out the full writeup of the webinar here.
Or you can just start listening right away by clicking here.
Thank you again, Tom.