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Just Story It Biz Storytelling
Story as a path to transformative leadership & business success    www.juststoryit.com
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Org Narratives: A Strategic Approach

Org Narratives: A Strategic Approach | Just Story It Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
Visit one of Australia's top rated business blogs. The team at Anecdote share insights on business strategy, storytelling, leadership and collaboration.
Karen Dietz's insight:

My colleague Shawn Callahan in Australia recently wrote this blog post about strategically using organization narrative. An org narrative is composed of many stories that reflect many different aspects of the organization's life and business.


What I like about this article is how Shawn makes this point -- with some simple graphics included. It made me smile when I read "Organizational life is not like a Hollywood movie where each event is precisely crafted for maximum entertainment effect." Thank heavens! It's hard to imitate Hollywood and still come across as authentic, which is the real work of company stories.


Shawn goes on to talk about the role of leaders in organizational narratives. He gives some good examples, and then moves on to talk about endings for stories.


And I appreciate his words at the end: "Organisations should be looking to harness the complexity of their organisational narratives. Leaders cannot simply mandate a company story. But to forge the business they want, they should be aware of which stories are being told, and which stories they would like to be told and start recounting the ones they want to amplify." 


Good job Shawn. And I know readers will gain some insights from this post.


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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The Role of Personal Stories at Work

Karen Dietz's insight:

This podcast is also available on itunes at The Story Factor podcast:


Here is another free podcast from colleague Annette Simmons who continues her interview with Jane Praeger. The focus this time is on using personal stories in your professional life -- and still some talk about the role of surprise in telling a story. Praeger went into surpirse more deeply in her first podcast with Annette which you can also find in this collection.


I appreciate it when Jane says that the fastest way to building trust is being vulnerable when sharing a story. That means it's OK to be an authentic human when sharing a story who makes mistakes and isn't perfect.


What I also like about this podcast is that Jane offers a free case study that you can download when you click on the link on the podcast's page. Yeah! We like good free stuff :))


If ever you've felt squeamish about sharing your personal stories, then this podcast is for you.


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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Brent MacKinnon's curator insight, December 21, 2013 4:21 AM

More great ideas and possibilities flow from telling stories about work.

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Want to Reach More Humans? Try Sounding Like One (via Storytelling)

Want to Reach More Humans? Try Sounding Like One (via Storytelling) | Just Story It Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
There are a lot of smart business leaders out there. They come up with brilliant products, develop amazing technologies and help customers solve their most complex problems.
Karen Dietz's insight:

I scooped this article because it's a great reminder with a very simple message -- drop the corporate speak; don't focus on pushing messages to folks; just show up, be real, and my addition: focus on story sharing.


Stories aren't mentioned in this article, yet they are your vehicle to building trust, being authentic, conveying complex information with simple elegance, all while being humble. And this is what the article talks about.


A lot of the storytelling articles I'm reading lately are still focused on using stories as a push technology to broadcast messages to people. That is old hat. We are now in another world where it is finally recognized that stories are a pull technology (they pull people into your world) AND that stories told evoke stories in the minds of listeners that they want to share back with you. So story sharing needs to be the focus these days.


This article helps us get our head straight about that. It's a quick read with terrific insights and tips to share. Happy reading!


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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malek's curator insight, December 18, 2013 11:16 AM

I like the idea of a mom as your ltimus test, if she got it, the whole world will go after you.

Brent MacKinnon's curator insight, December 21, 2013 4:24 AM

I like the emphasis on trust building and being authentic.

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Being a better leader: 11 Simple Concepts (storytelling as foundation)

Being a better leader: 11 Simple Concepts (storytelling as foundation) | Just Story It Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
Being likeable will help you in your job, business, relationships, and life. I interviewed dozens of successful business leaders in my last book, Likeable Business, to determine what made them so

Via Bobby Dillard
Karen Dietz's insight:

This post is originally from fellow curator Bobby Dillard. Thanks for this Bobby!


What a great chart! And of course I like it because storytelling is a foundational piece. But that aside, it does show how critical storytelling has become to being an effective leader. What to motivate and inspire people? Stories are your best vehicle. Want to have your values and vision come alive and be embodied? Stories are the answer again.


And great storytelling doesn't happen without great listening, too. So I'm doubly happy that listening also made it into the chart as another foundational skill.


Keep this chart handy -- I know I'm going to as I work with leaders and MBA students. And may 2014 totally rock for you!


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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FRANK FEATHER ~ Business Futurist's curator insight, December 30, 2013 4:26 PM

Be a Better Leader: 11 Simple Concepts

Emeric Nectoux's curator insight, December 30, 2013 8:54 PM

The core value of a transleader.

Ron McIntyre's curator insight, December 31, 2013 10:42 AM

Great structure.  Simple in nature but hard to execute in a genuine way every time.  Worth looking to by all leaders.

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Find Your Inner Mandela: A Tribute and Call to Action

Find Your Inner Mandela: A Tribute and Call to Action | Just Story It Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
He didn’t cling to power. He empowered.
Karen Dietz's insight:

Of all the tributes I've read today about Nelson Mandela, I appreciate this one the most.


Why? Because it is a beautiful and inspiring article about how we too can bring the qualities Mandela embodied into our own lives. Now how much better can it get than that?


I firmly believe that one of the best and most powerful ways to honor somone is to embody the wisdom and qualities they lived by. Bring the spirit of Mandela into your own life and experience the difference it can make for you and others.


Thank you for all the great work you do in the world!


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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Bill McKee's comment, December 7, 2013 8:41 AM
To add a little historical perspective on Mandela's legacy.. http://americanvision.org/9813/missionary-reveals-real-mandela/#sthash.3sTr6KFP.NwVh44M9.dpbs
Carol Sherriff's curator insight, December 8, 2013 12:30 PM

Lovely tribute and thought piece about Mandela as a leader who understood forgiveness, generosity and what his core principles were.

Carol Sherriff's curator insight, December 8, 2013 12:32 PM

I was a little cautious reading this the first time. Such tributes and thought pieces can be tacky. This one however does justice to the man and calls us all to find the inner strengths to make a similar contribution to a better world.

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Story Listening: Getting work done & making a difference -- K. Dietz TEDx talk

Karen Dietz, owner of Just Story It, shares her recent TEDx talk on how to listen for stories that will help you/your business/your nonprofit make a difference in the world.

Karen Dietz's insight:

Hi Folks!


Many people have been asking me when my TEDx talk will be available and it's finally be posted for viewing.


During the presentation I not only talk a bit about my background and lessons I've learned about storytelling, but I also share a simply story listening process I learned years ago from storyteller Doug Lipman.


I use the process all the time in my work -- because it's so powerful, and because it is at the root of how work gets done, and how making a difference in the world really happens. Anyone can do this process and I encourage you to try it out.


I hope you enjoy this 15 minutes and begin to relate to stories in this way. Happy story listening!


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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Monica S Mcfeeters's curator insight, December 2, 2013 10:25 AM

Inspiration on how to J"ust Story it" from the professional founder.

Karen Dietz's comment, December 2, 2013 11:04 AM
Thank you Monica!
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The 3 E’s of Re-tellable Leadership Stories

The 3 E’s of Re-tellable Leadership Stories | Just Story It Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it

There are three kinds of people, said the sign on the wall of my dad’s coaching office:

Those that make things happen, those that watch things happen, and those that don’t know what the heck happened.

Karen Dietz's insight:

Business storyteller Jay Golden writes in his latest blog post about 3 kinds of stories leaders must be aware of in their storytelling efforts.


What I really like about this post is that it is not a laundry list of leadership story topics (your vision story, your values story, etc.). It is instead a different way to view leader stories -- not from the perspective of 'this is where we are going' but from the aspect of letting others know what just happened


I find in my own consulting work how powerful -- and needed -- this perspective is for leaders. And how neglected or ignored such a viewpoint is.


Golden gives us 3 categories of stories to be mindful of and work with: Everyday stories, evolving stories, and enduring stories. These 3 buckets work for me!


As you review your business stories, do you have all 3 types? If not, you can now fill up those empty buckets. And Golden shares how and when each of these 3 story types are important to share.


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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JoanneMorris's curator insight, December 1, 2013 10:29 AM

This applies to Educational Leadership too, of course.

Karen Dietz's comment, December 2, 2013 11:03 AM
Excellent points Nancy!
Peter (PJ) Fulcher-Meredith's curator insight, December 2, 2013 10:06 PM

As Karen said a different way of capturing and curating your business stories.  Anything that helps leaders to categorise and re-use and re-purpose stories the better. Make it easier and leaders will use stories more and more to engage their people. Nice one.

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Business Storytelling For Dummies book has arrived!!

Business Storytelling For Dummies book has arrived!! | Just Story It Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
Use storytelling to influence people and move them to action Need to get your point across? Get staff on board with change? Foster collaboration? Increase sales? Strengthen
Karen Dietz's insight:

Hi Folks!


My new book with co-author Lori Silverman, Business Storytelling for Dummies, has now arrived and is available. Yeah!!


You can purchase it through Amazon.com but if you click on the title above it will take you to the Wiley publisher's site for the book. Here there are also 8 free downloads for you that you won't find elsewhere. Double yeah!!


Have fun and I hope you like the book. Lori and I tried real hard to make it as practical as possible with lots of how-to's and examples. There's a section on crafting and telling compelling stories, and another section on how to apply stories to you business for greater success.


Happy storytelling!

PS: Amazon reviews are always welcome :)


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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malek's comment, November 28, 2013 10:43 AM
Congrats, shine bright
malek's curator insight, November 28, 2013 10:52 AM

A new tool in our arsenal. Amazon comments a must-do

Kim Zinke (aka Gimli Goose)'s comment, November 28, 2013 8:45 PM
Congratulations Karen! It's now at the top of my Christmas wishlist.
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Episode #6 by Annette Simmons – Two GREAT Questions! from Biz Storyteller Karen Dietz

Episode #6 by Annette Simmons – Two GREAT Questions! from Biz Storyteller Karen Dietz | Just Story It Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it

The Story Factor by Annette Simmons – Influence through the Art of Storytelling The people you want to influence don’t want more information – they want faith. Faith in you, your ideas, your plan…your story. How can you tell your story in a way that is compelling? believable? long lasting? Discover how to tell a story that awakens people’s faith in you.

Karen Dietz's insight:

OK -- this post is in the category of shameless self-promotion :)


This is the third and final part of the interview I had with biz storytelling guru Annette Simmons in the photo above. You can also find this podcast on iTunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-6-two-great-questions!/id735863915?i=194684611&mt=2 


In this short piece (10 minutes) we actually chat about the questions I use with clients when working with their stories. 


In addition I talk about the hand-dyed silk panels I bring into my work with clients, and how I use them. Yes, I'm also a fiber artist and have been hand-dyeing silk for many years now.


If you want to look at the silk panels I talk about in this episode, you will find them on my Google+ profie in my Photos  https://plus.google.com/+KarenDietz/posts  and on my LinkedIn profile www.linkedin.com/in/karendietz/ 


I hope you enjoy the show and get some ideas/insights. 


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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How Storytelling Contributes to 20 People Skills Needed To Succeed At Work

How Storytelling Contributes to 20 People Skills Needed To Succeed At Work | Just Story It Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
Do you think you’re qualified for a particular job, fit to lead a team, or entitled to a promotion because you have extensive experience and highly developed technical skills?
Karen Dietz's insight:

This is a terrific list by Jacquelyn Smith at Forbes, and a great way to check in on how you are doing at work or what skills you might need to upgrade to realize greater success.


I was checking out this article just because when I realized how much storytelling skills play a role here. In fact, 13 of the 20 success skills can be connected to storytelling. Here they are:


  1. Ability to relate to others -- building storytelling skills builds empathy and builds relationships.
  2. Strong communication skills -- don't be boring or shy: storytelling to the rescue!
  3. Ability to trust others -- well, stories help build trust.
  4. Knowing how and when to show empathy -- building storytelling skills builds empathy skills.
  5. Active listening skills -- effective storytelling is really all about listening to someone else's story first.
  6. Genuine interest in others -- through building storytelling/story evoking skills you have a lot more fun genuinely getting to know someone.
  7. Flexibility -- there's a lot to flexibility, and becoming proficient in storytelling means learning how to shift and change the story in real time (i.e. being flexible!). Hopefully this spills over into other areas of life :)
  8. Ability to persuade others -- well, storytelling is your best tool for this!
  9. Ability to keep an open mind -- I've noticed that as I listen to other people's stories I become much more tolerant. Hopefully, others do too.
  10. Knowing your audience -- telling a great story that connects with others doesn't happen unless you know your audience, which storytelling can help teach you.
  11. Honesty -- if you are unable to tell an honest and authentic story, you are toast. Need I say more?
  12. Awareness of body langauge -- as you learn to craft and tell your stories, you become more aware of how your own body language helps you tell the story (or how to move your body to better tell the story) and the body language of others.
  13. Ability to be supportive and motivate others -- which is one of the core purposes for telling stories. Working on stories helps you do this more effectively.


OK, I know storytelling won't solve all the worlds woes, or all the issues at work. But it can take you far! There are more insights to grab in this article so don't miss it.


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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Patricia D. Sadar - Career and Leadership Acceleration Coach's curator insight, November 20, 2013 2:02 AM

Another excellent article and gold nuggets from Karen!

 

Thank you!

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Story Doing: 80% Of Companies Don't Care About Company Culture--Do You?

Story Doing: 80% Of Companies Don't Care About Company Culture--Do You? | Just Story It Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
Design Executive Officers certainly do. And the authors of the new book Rise of the DEO: Leadership by Design believe they're the future of business.
Karen Dietz's insight:

The pendulum in business storytelling is beginning to move slightly from storytelling to being able to walk the talk. In other words, are the stories you are telling actually matching what's going on internally in the company?


Today consumers have more tools available to them to detect when a company is walking their talk or just weaving a nice fairy tale. And they will vote with their feet and wallets when they become disenchanted with companies they find disingenuous.


That means storytelling cannot be the exclusive pervue of marketing/sales/PR -- story work in business has to include work on the organization's culture, regardless of size.


This article shares the latest research on how many companies pay attention to culture (most don't). And then offers suggestions on what to pay attention to.


Now here's the kicker -- this article is written by DESIGNERS!! Not organizational development folks. Not leadership or business consultants. They talk about the work of a Design Executive Officer (DEO) who's work it is to help design an organization's culture. Who knew??!! I find this fascinating.


Design (not project management) is one of the key skills to develop in 21st century business according to Dan Pink's book A Whole New Mind


What does this mean for you?

  1. Pay attention to your internal culture.
  2. Make sure the stories you are telling actually match what your business is doing -- at all levels.
  3. If your business is young, design your culture early on for maximum leverage.
  4. If your business has been around awhile and there are mismatches between what you say and what you do -- go fix it.


Here's the formula for success: the stories you tell and the behaviors you choose match = authenticity, credibility, loyalty, trust, engagement, + ongoing customer relationships. This builds profits.


Beginning research (though flawed) on Story Doing companies is showing just how much more profitable these businesses are: http://www.storydoing.com/welcome 


So pay attention to culture!


This was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling atwww.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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9 Clips of Leaders Sharing All Kinds of Biz Stories

9 Clips of Leaders Sharing All Kinds of  Biz Stories | Just Story It Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
When business leaders start building their business storytelling skills it can help a lot to see how other business leaders tell business stories.
Karen Dietz's insight:

My biz story colleague Shawn Callahan in Australia has put together a terrific list of leaders telling all kinds of different business stories. It's a wonderful collection for the following reasons:


  1. Each story is a different kind
  2. Each leader tells their story/stories in their own authentic style
  3. Some are stories, some are short anecdotes
  4. Polished presentations aren't around -- just honest sharing
  5. They all make an impact


Leaders sharing stories is one of the best ways to observe that all kinds of stories can make a difference. There are certainly times when a leader has to stand a deliver a well crafted finely honed story. But in daily life, leaders share stories in all kinds of ways. And that's what this collection shows.


I really like how in the text Callahan also gives us the place stories are told in some of the longer videos. That way we can skip through them and get to the storytelling.


I know I enjoyed listening to these leaders and not seeing cookie-cutter telling. I hope you enjoy them also. And find additional uses for them.


This review was written by Karen Dietz for the Just Story It curation on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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Brian Yanish - MarketingHits.com's curator insight, October 28, 2013 8:29 PM

The social web is helping to make many business leaders story tellers. If you need help with your Biz story I would contact Karen at http://www.juststoryit.com/

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Forget Storytelling: Think Story Sharing!

Forget Storytelling: Think Story Sharing! | Just Story It Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it

Business storytelling author and thought leader in the field interviews Karen Dietz about her insights into business storytelling. Listen to the free podcast.

Karen Dietz's insight:

Woo hoo! My friend and colleague Annette Simmons (author of The Story Factor, Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins, and Territorial Games) and I had quite a chat recently about the ins-and-outs of business storytelling and Part 1 is now available as a free podcast.


The link only lasts a short time -- so go to iTunes to download the podcast here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-2-karen-dietz/id735863915?i=169716216&mt=2 


We had a great time together and talk about the importance of story sharing instead of storytelling, why I prefer NOT to do single story workshops with clients, and what to pay attention to when working with stories in organizations. Read Annette's intro for more goodies you will hear about in the podcast.


Annette wrote one of the first books on business storytelling and is one of the pioneers who broke ground for us all. See me humbly bowing to her. She's a kick-ass kid and I have learned much from her.


Enjoy this conversation as we talk about how we work with stories, what we've learned along the way, and why we are so passionate about storytelling


This review was written by Karen Dietz for the Just Story It curation on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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Rita's curator insight, October 24, 2013 11:13 AM

Share stories...that's what people want to hear. 

Jim Signorelli's curator insight, October 25, 2013 4:54 AM

Annette Simmons,  one of the "Storyati," has a new weekly podcast. 

In this, her second podcast, and while interviewing my delightful story friend Karen Dietz,  they talk about their connection to story, what it means to them and how they help others make the most of its power. Karen,  who claims she's more of a story scholar than a storyteller, does a pretty good job of telling her own story about some funny things that happened on the way to her doctorate.    Highly recommend a listen and subscribing to these podcasts. 


Don Cloud's curator insight, October 25, 2013 6:25 PM

The best stories are those worth sharing.  Even better stories are those that a leader helps his/her people to create together.

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Branding: 10 Strategies for Living Your Core Values (Stories)

Branding: 10 Strategies for Living Your Core Values (Stories) | Just Story It Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
How businesses can take their beliefs and make them real for consumers.
Karen Dietz's insight:

What a terrific article this is! There is so much talk these days (finally) about not only telling stories, but living the stories you tell. In other words, walking your talk.


Companies have always been faced with this, but in today's marketplace the stakes are higher and so is the demand from customers that businesses live what they believe in -- not just espouse stuff.


This article by Jessica Blotter covers great ground, giving 10 activities to pay attention to. And she includes specific examples to back up her points!


Many of these steps connect with storytelling. Such as: be human and express your humanity. And 'your story must transcend technology' -- meaning there needs to be a social impact (positive) that your business is having on the world. Another activity is to make sure customers are the celebrity of your brand story. In other words, the stories are not really about you, they are about them.


There are 7 other great strategies to read about. I won't give away all the activities. But I know you'll resonate with them as you read the article. And it will give you specific ideas for what you might want to do next.


This review was written by Karen Dietz for the Just Story It curation on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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Karen Dietz's comment, October 19, 2013 6:43 PM
Patricia, so glad you find the article helpful. Hope you are well!
Karen Dietz's comment, October 19, 2013 6:45 PM
Hans, you are so right -- it's not only about your product, but about what a company stands for. The article I curated today on 3 New Story Types also addresses this. Thanks for commenting!
Karen Dietz's comment, October 19, 2013 6:53 PM
Hey Jim -- I'm so glad the article really stands out for you. And I agree wholeheartedly with your comments. Would you believe I've been working with 1 client for 2 years and it's not about storytelling yet -- we are focusing about improving the organization internally so they will be able to tell a story that they live. We are almost ready to focus on storytelling as an organizational strategy. It's fascinating work. And rare, to your points above. Check out the other article I curated today on 3 new stories to tell. It's based on new research that's been released about the bottom line benefits for an organization that lives its stories. It's much better than the ''story doing' research that was released a few months ago.
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What Are Success Stories Really Good For?

What Are Success Stories Really Good For? | Just Story It Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
Some cultural critics believe business war stories aren't instructive. What can we learn from that?
Karen Dietz's insight:

The author here, Drake Baer, is questioning the value of business success stories -- in particular, memoirs of successful Titans about how they became, well, successful.


The main point is that life is complex and these kinds of memoirs are  probably not helpful because life is too complex. So these stories lead us down a primrose path that ultimately is not hepful. What is helpful though is practice. In other words, if you want to be a high jumper, keep jumping higher.


Yet there are important principles about stories to tease out here. 


Life IS complex. Yet stories -- of both successes and failures -- help us figure out our way through. Why? Because stories of successes and failures contain within them problem-solving structures. They help us figure out how to solve the problems we face in our own lives and careers. Different stories from different people contain different and similar problem-solving structures. This is a good thing. So listening to/reading these kinds of stories can actually be very helpful.


On the other hand, I also believe that a diet exclusively of success stories can be problematic. Which is why I also added stories of failures into the mix. Because failure stories are really all about how we recovered from mistakes we've made -- and what we've learned along the way. Customers and employees want to know these kinds of stories. And they too build trust.


The notion of practice is an interesting one. I can practice 'work' or 'career' all I want but in the end, if I don't have guidance in some form, success is harder to figure out and takes longer to show up. So instead of discounting failure and success stories, I think I would want to listen to and read lots of them. So maybe success is less about practice and more about persistence.


Plus, both success and failure stories give us hope. I always remember the story about Rowland Hussey Macy, Sr. who founded Macy's department story -- and failed 4 times before succeeding. This gives me hope to keep trying :)


I do agree with the notion of practice -- especially if you want to become a better storyteller. That's the main pathway to improvement: learn how to tell a great story and then practice practice practice :)


OK -- enough pontificating for the day :) Go read the article for yourself and let me know if you agree or disagree!


This review was written by Karen Dietz for the Just Story It curation on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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The Truth About Story: Ashraf Ramsey's Response to John Hagel

The Truth About Story: Ashraf Ramsey's Response to John Hagel | Just Story It Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it

There is no link in the title above. Ashraf Ramsey is a story work professional based in the Netherlands. I've known Ashraf for years and he is another great thinker about the work of stories in business. His company is Narrativity Group and he comments here on John Hagel's latest blog post about distinctions between story and narrative.

Karen Dietz's insight:

Like most others who have been working in the story field for decades, Ashraf's reaction to John Hagel's recent blog post is not favorable. Because of his work schedule Ashraf asked me to post his comments. Thank you Ashraf for weighing in! Here are his thoughts:


From Ashraf Ramsey:

In his blog titled the ‘The Untapped Potential of Corporate Narratives’  John Hagel makes a great number of very disturbing mistakes as he jumps on the bandwagon of Storytelling on the one hand, yet completely misses the point on the other.

 

Let me first, to the best of my ability summarize and parafrase his points:

-        There is a missed opportunity to harness the much greater power narratives, especially for institutions

He argument is based on his distinction between stories and narratives.: “First, stories are self-contained – they have a beginning, a middle and an end. Narratives on the other hand are open-ended – the outcome is unresolved, yet to be determined.  Second, stories are about me, the story-teller, or other people; they are not about you.  In contrast, the resolution of narratives depends on the choice you make and the actions you take – you will determine the outcome. Everyone is captivated by the emotional power and engagement of stories and it’s true, they have enormous power.  But to understand the much greater power of narrative, I point out that throughout history, millions of people have given their lives for narratives.  Every successful social movement in history has been driven at its core by a narrative that drove people to do amazing things, whether it’s the Christian narrative, the American narrative or the Marxist narrative. Narratives have an extraordinary power of pull.”

 

Well, that’s where he goes wrong.


First of all, yes we need to make a distinction. But the distinction is between the Story and the Telling.


Where story on the one hand is both a cogntive construct and cognitive constructiomn: an organizing principle that transforms information into meaning. And where the telling on the other hand is the vast array of means, methods and media  -- we have to convey the story. The words on the page, the images on the screen, the pigments on the canvas are not the story –they are the carriers of the story. Story is a cognitive construct with its own laws and logic and is as such immaterial.


Telling is a communicative and expressive construct, and is by its own nature also governed by laws and logic. In the history of Narratology from Aristotle to Greimas distinctions have been made between story and plot. Between story and discourse. Between histoire and discours. Between fabula and sjuzet (the chronological order of the retold events).


But nowhere in the history of Narratology does the distinction between story and narrative as defined by Mr. Hagel exist.

On the contrary, what he defines as Narrative is in fact Mythology. The late late and renowned literary critic Norhrop Frye in Spiritus Mundi [1976: page 19] has deep insights and great wisdom to offer beyond the jump on the bandwagon soundbites mr Hagel hurls at us.


Thus mythology simultaneously functions as a deep structure of perception and as an overarching mode of understanding. As Northrop Frye puts it:

Man lives, not directly or nakedly in nature like the animals, but within a mythological universe, a body of assumptions and beliefs developed from his existential concerns. Most of this is held unconsciously, which means that our imagination may recognize elements of it, when presented in art or literature, without consciously understanding what it is that we recognize.” 

 

Now that we have cleared that up we can move on and adress Mr Hagels’ notions of the application of Narrative – read Mythology in the world of business where I have been applying narratology for almost 3 decades.


What he calls Narrative here is in fact a merger of a Corporate Story – which is a vision on the meaning and purpose of the identity and existence of an organization – and a brand story which is the source and the frame that drives and contains all marketing and corporate communications as instrument of perception management.


And he gets is wrong when he says ‘unpack the slogan’. No it is the other way round. In the proces of Story development, we carve out what is meaningful and relevant and craft it into a coherent and compelling story. We then condense the story further and further and destill from it its quintessence. And that is how great taglines are born.

 

And as Mr Hagel goes on praising the virtues of Narrative I can’t help but read over and over again how in the past decade Storytelling has been sold and made relevant.


So, my conclusion is that Mr Hagel sees advantages in storytelling. But he rightly does not want to  be associated with touchy feely white fluffy bunny types storytelling is associated with. And so he constructs a new term with total disregards for the 2000+ years of acadamic literature on the subject.

 

Me thinketh he is a Narrative in his own mind.


This review was written by Ashraf Ramsey for the Just Story It curation on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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John Hagel: removing story in favor of narrative is dangerous advice

John Hagel: removing story in favor of narrative is dangerous advice | Just Story It Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
Referring to 'The Untapped Potential of Corporate Narratives'. Narratives exist. We know they exist because of story. In the absence of story, there is nothing that helps us discern narratives and ...
Karen Dietz's insight:

And here is my amazing story work colleague Limor Shiponi from Israel chiming in with her input about Hagel's post where he distinguishes between story and narrative.


As Limor says, narrative without story is not much. Read her insightful comments. More learning learning learning is going on and this is a great discussion.


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it

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To John Hagel: please don't remove story out of corporate narrative--from Anecdote

To John Hagel: please don't remove story out of corporate narrative--from Anecdote | Just Story It Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it

What's wrong with his idea is that he is trying to re-craft the word 'narrative' such that its very power is taken away. He is attempting to turn a narrative into a mere description. He is adamant that a narrative is not a story.

Karen Dietz's insight:

And this post is my colleague Shawn Callahan's response to John Hagel's article which I reviewed here in Story versus Narrative: Does This Work??


Callahan points out how Hagel is taking the very power of stories out of narrative, leaving us all impoverished. It's a solid, valid yet short read that approaches Hagel's piece from a different perspective.


We can all really learn lots about story from these various viewpoints.


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it

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Stories Versus Narratives: Does This Work??? John Hagel

Stories Versus Narratives: Does This Work??? John Hagel | Just Story It Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
At a time when we’ve all become obsessed with the power of story-telling, I’ve become increasingly focused on the missed opportunity to harness the much greater power of narratives, especially for institutions.
Karen Dietz's insight:

John Hagel is a highly influential business thought leader. Yet his latest blog post on where he distinguishes between stories and narratives is problematic I think. I just commented on his blog and here is my take on the article (exerpts are in quotes with my thoughts below):


 “To recap, here are the distinctions.  First, stories are self-contained – they have a beginning, a middle and an end. Narratives on the other hand are open-ended – the outcome is unresolved, yet to be determined.”

What you are describing is a culture or a thought system that is made up of a collection of stories, beliefs, attitudes, ways of doing, actions, symbols, language, etc. Reducing culture down to the term ‘narrative’ narrows our thinking about organizational life, community, and humanity in my opinion.

 

If we consider stories as only being about a beginning-middle-end structure, then they are self-contained. However, structure is only a small part of stories. In fact, stories are dynamic events, not discrete objects. Treating stories as objects leads to this kind of odd distinction being made between stories and narratives. In truth, the grand ‘narrative’ discussed here is made up of hundreds or thousands of stories that are always fluid and in motion. They work dynamically on people sometimes long after the telling. As performances, as events, story’s beginnings and ends are ephemeral as folklorists and anthropologists have recognized for decades.

 

“Second, stories are about me, the story-teller, or other people; they are not about you.  In contrast, the resolution of narratives depends on the choice you make and the actions you take – you will determine the outcome.”

Stories when told orally are co-created experiences and not passively consumed – and all great storytellers know that. They also know that stories are always about the other person, not themselves or other people – regardless if a personal story is being shared. That is the biggest lesson businesses need to learn. Stories hold different problem solving structures within them. Once hearing a story, the choices people make about actions to take are always up to them. This is the craft of storytelling versus messaging – another lesson businesses need to learn. Stories are guides – actions are up to the listener. So the distinction here between stories and narratives is again problematic. I would rather the discussion focus on getting businesses to understand the powerful dynamics of storytelling rather than on distinctions that may create more confusion.

 

“But to understand the much greater power of narrative, I point out that throughout history, millions of people have given their lives for narratives.  Every successful social movement in history has been driven at its core by a narrative that drove people to do amazing things, whether it’s the Christian narrative, the American narrative or the Marxist narrative. Narratives have an extraordinary power of pull.”

Narratives as movements are made up of a collection of stories, beliefs, and visions of the future that galvanize people. But folks do not relate to ‘narratives’ in this sense without having stories to connect to that are relevant to them personally. People will live and die for their stories. The aggregate of stories you are naming as a narrative are more aptly called ‘movements’ as  you wrote. This is because they move people to action based on what is being said that they can connect their own person stories to, and the vision that is present. Again, calling these movements ‘narratives’ is kind of limiting and I’m not sure really expands our understanding of the dynamics going on.

 

“While completely understandable and natural, these cognitive biases can lead to increasingly dysfunctional behavior.  I've written about this aspect of narratives in an earlier blog posting, but the cognitive biases that narratives can overcome are: risk aversion, shortening time horizons, zero-sum views of the world and erosion of trust.”

I don’t think that narratives overcome cognitive biases any better than stories do. In my decades of org story experience and all the research I’ve read, stories are the ultimate and best vehicle for overcoming cognitive biases. But again, this is all based on stories being understood as dynamic events and not as objects.

 

“If executives want to build institutions that can grow stronger in turbulent times, rather than weaker, they have to find ways to overcome these cognitive biases among their employees as well as among those they are trying to serve and collaborate with outside. Narratives can play an important role in accomplishing this.”

Authenticity, trust, engagement all happen through story sharing that over time eventually generates what is being called here a grand ‘narrative’. There is nothing inherently good in narratives just because one focuses on them. There are plenty of dysfunctional and debilitating ‘narratives’/cultures floating around out there. Grand narratives/cultures are not cooked up in some executive meeting – cultures emerge through time as people share stories, walk the talk, and live their beliefs. That culture – hopefully one that is positive and enlivens people -- is what companies can be known for. And that is the real work story professionals and businesses need to get done together.


What do you think? Any comments/reactions? Post here and on Hagel's blog!


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it

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Jim Signorelli's comment, October 15, 2013 6:42 AM
Karen, I agree with you. Actually, I think Hagels whole narrative vs. story thing is just semantic doo-doo. All he had to say was that businesses need "living" stories that permeate all they do over time. Done.
Karen Dietz's comment, October 15, 2013 9:11 AM
Well said Jim! Yes, the distinctions being made are bogus and only muddy the waters instead of providing clarity. As if our work isn't hard enough!
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Forget writing out your biz stories! The art of storytelling

Forget writing out your biz stories! The art of storytelling | Just Story It Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
When leaders first learn about business storytelling quite often their first instinct is to write their stories down, in full with all the flourish they hope to convey in the retelling.
This is a mistake.
Karen Dietz's insight:

What a great post from colleague Shawn Callahan about most people's tendency to want to write out their business stories and the advice to NOT do so.


What??!! Yes. Resist this temptation. Callahan explains why and what to do instead. Follow his advice. And if you absolutely must write down your stories -- do so and them set it aside. Scripted stories and sounding like a robot are not allowed! 


All really good storytellers know the limitations of writing down their stories. So keep building your improv storytelling skills for maximum results.


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it

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Marty Koenig's curator insight, October 5, 2013 2:47 PM

This is key. The hard part is learning how an entrepreneur becomes a great story teller. 

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Shared Experiences: Cupcake Runs & Storytelling

Shared Experiences: Cupcake Runs & Storytelling | Just Story It Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it

It was Tuesday at 10:03 a.m., my second day on a new job. Chris, a software developer, was explaining the company’s technology to me. In the middle of our conversation, he received an instant message. He quickly got up and told me, “It’s time for a cupcake run!”

Karen Dietz's insight:

Yes -- stories create shared experiences, which create new or deeper relationships, which create corporate culture.


Here is a terrific example showing how this happens. It is a quick and enjoyable post with a short story to match.


I really like the anecdote the author Reena Kansal uses to make her points and will probably use it in my own work (with proper attribution, of course).

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Leadership--Are you a storyteller or 'story doer?"

Leadership--Are you a storyteller or 'story doer?" | Just Story It Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
Building Resilience, Enhancing Performance
Karen Dietz's insight:

Here is a terrific primer on leadership and storytelling that articulates the difference betwwen a leader who tells stories, and a leader who tells stories and moves people to action. And of course, it's the ability to move people to action with your stories that makes the diffeerence.


The author, Paul Mudd, discusses how leaders (read entrepreneurs, business owners and nonprofit directors) share stories to transmit knowledge, values, and life lessons. Of course, that means leaders need to be self-aware and comfortable sharing their personal stories. Mudd does a good job addressing this.


I remind people however that before a leader can tell tell tell stories, they have to earn the right to do so first. And that is not necessarily the priviledge of their position. Instead they need to cultivate the ability to listen to stories first, because listening is the first storytelling skill to master.


I just finished co-facilitating a leadership retreat with 56 women with friend and colleague Madelyn Blair. The entire 2-days we only use story-based tecniques and story listening as the foundation. The results are amazing and this is year 5 of deliving the retreat.


I hope Mudd tackles listening in an upcoming article. Until then, enjoy this piece that applies to us all. And check out the links to additional posts at the end of the article.


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it

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Don Cloud's curator insight, September 29, 2013 1:45 PM

Are you a storyteller or story doer?  Interesting insights into the differences.

Andrea Norwood's comment, October 1, 2013 10:08 AM
I am a little of both, the story teller in me talks about the intelligent of the human spider and how they want to be accepted for who they are spiders and become equal among the humans. The story doer in me creates the materials from my stroy about the spider.
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Data Overwhelm: Tell Better Stories Instead

Data Overwhelm: Tell Better Stories Instead | Just Story It Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
Storytelling in business is the only way we can derive meaning from the cacophony of communication that fills our lives.
Karen Dietz's insight:

This is a great inforgraphic and the blog post has a powerful message to go along with it. With people overwhelmed with data and information, help them sort through it by sharing stories instead. That's what creates meaning. And trust. And better communications.


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it

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Cilian Fennell's comment, September 27, 2013 3:40 AM
Excellent. I was just thinking about this last week- http://www.cilianfennell.com/storytelling/
Karen Dietz's comment, September 27, 2013 9:03 AM
Fabulous Cilian. Glad it is making the rounds. Thanks for the comment and link!
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Creating a Company Vision Story

Creating a Company Vision Story | Just Story It Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
Do you have a vision of where your company will be in three years? In five? 10? Here’s a sure-fire way to get clear about the future you want.
Karen Dietz's insight:

Here's a terrific article that talks about how a company created a Future/Vision story and the phenomenal results they've experienced since. And the author, Ari Weinzweig, also shares tips for how to craft your own Future/Vision story. Yeah!


I know you will be inspired by this post. I'd love to read the Future/Vision stories you create!


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it

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Ali Anani's curator insight, September 11, 2013 12:25 AM

A must read. Fabulous article

Karen Dietz's comment, September 11, 2013 5:54 PM
How cool Linda! That must have been a real treat. And thank you Freddy and Ali for your comments.
Debra Walker's curator insight, September 11, 2013 8:30 PM

Visioning is critical for ensuring everyone in the organization can "see" the orgn in the future.  Stories are powerful!

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Who’s the Hero in Your Business?

Who’s the Hero in Your Business? | Just Story It Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
Many businesses are mediocre because they don't have the slightest desire to be heroic. They just want to get through the day, collect the money, and carry on w
Karen Dietz's insight:

This is a very short article with a potent key message -- YOU are NOT the Hero in your business, your CUSTOMER IS.


And another point: no one cares about you or your business. People care about themselves instead. LOL -- I get excited about projects I'm doing and think my clients are interested in them too. Wrong! They go "Yeah, yeah, interesting. Now about the problem I'm trying to solve...." Makes me laugh.


So where the heck does that leave you? In any number of powerful roles. The author of the article, Brian Clark, suggests as a business owner or leader, a better role might be that of the Sage -- a likable expert.


Let's take this further. I'm going to suggest other roles based on the book "From Sage to Artisan; The Nine Roles of the Value-Driven Leader" by Stuart Wells (1997). Hey, some books are timeless :)


Leaders and business owners can be any one or a combination of these instead of the Hero:

  1. Sage -- pulls together diverse information to form a coherent strategy
  2. Visionary -- scans the future to specify a vision that inspires others to act
  3. Magician -- flexibly creates large scale change
  4. Globalist -- operates across cultures to consolidate different perspectives
  5. Artisan -- sets and meets increasingly higher standards of quality and excellence


There are a few other roles, but the above seem to be most of what we see. 


So which ones appeal to you? All bring specific kinds of value to the customer where they can end up being the Hero. Once you understand your role better, it becomes a lot easier to share your biz stories that connect with customers.


Enjoy!


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content Just Story It at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it

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Karen Dietz's comment, September 4, 2013 12:08 PM
Hey John! Many thanks for the comment and additional insights. Glad this post struck a nerve :) No matter what the profession, I always encourage people to evoke a story first ("Tell me about a time when...") and then deeply listen to the story being told. This is the best way to build empathy and learn what it is like to walk a mile in your customer's shoes. Realtor's have tremendous opportunities here that will build long lasting relationships.
Hans Duchardt's curator insight, September 5, 2013 7:47 AM

Don't we all know that feeling - and what are we doing about it to change this? If anything at all? 

Curated by Karen Dietz
Story as a path to transformative leadership and business success.