"Organizational storytelling is quite different from our usual model of storytelling and yet surprisingly similar. As storytellers know, when you “story” something, you give it life and depth and meaning. This is true in organizations, as well. Storying a company, a process or a product humanizes it – in a way that a memo or spreadsheet does not – and thus extends ownership throughout the organization or community. The story itself actually becomes a deliverable, a product, alive and vital to the audience, whoever they may be. But it’s not always a simple process."
As I was reading this post I was saying to myself, "Yep -- been there, done that!" and "Oh yeah, I remember when something similar happened to me!" I love this article by colleague Laura Packer because she not only talks about her adventures in organizational storytelling, she is also educating others about the skills and talents required on the part of business story professionals for successful engagements.
This is also teaching companies about how to hire quality org story consultants. Too often businesses are quite cavalier in their attitude toward storytelling, thinking any consultant or facilitator can do this kind of work. Not so -- it requires training in the dynamics of storytelling in addition to training in organizational development. And, oh, by the way -- as valuable as Appreciative Inquiry is, it is not the be-all and end-all of organizational storytelling.
This kind of post is sorely needed in our field and I hope other practitioners will add their voices and experiences to Laura's.
Different organizational applications for stories and storytelling require different processes and skills. With posts like Laura's we will continue to educate companies about the care, feeding, facilitation, dynamics, and applications of org storytelling. And we will continue to build quality standards into our professional practice.
Thank you Gregg Morris @greggvm for bringing this article to my attention.
Via Gregg Morris, Karen Dietz