The Danger of a Single Story | Technological Sparks |

Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.


OMG -- what an amazing video! It is about 12 minutes long -- and eloquent plus thought-provoking. It is inspiring and heartfelt. I know this will feed you well.


Here is how to view it through the lense of small business, enterprises, non-profit work, or social cause entrepreneurship:

There is not one story, but multiple stories of different people that together create or organization -- whether you are a sole proprietor, nonprofit or a multinational corporation. You would think that is obvious, but I can't tell you how frequently people come to me for their 'story' -- their one, defining story. But thinking that way is dangerous and extremely limiting -- and untimately not successful as this Chimamanda explains. There are your stories, stories of customers, stories of partners, stories of staff, stories of stakeholders, etc...


The tone of today's marketing/branding efforts reflects more the shallowness of story instead of its depth. Depth comes from the many stories, not the 'one'. We instead must engage with ALL the stories otherwise we rob people of their dignity, respect and humanity. That thievery does not create meaningful relationships -- and we are all in the age of relationship building/sustaining if you haven't figured that out yet. 


Over-storying happens all the time -- to silence different voices for the sake of efficiency. The result? Stereotypes that while true, are woefully incomplete. This ultimately creates an inability to reach and engage with more people/markets in your business.


Stories in organizations and public life can be used to dispossess and malign (our current political climate?) or to bring together and empower. There are dangers in storytelling -- yes, even in business -- and care must be taken so we hear and can operate from a balance of stories for the health and well-being of the organization.


In the end, your success in working with stories for engagement, connection and meaningful relationship is all about awareness, intent, and deep listening -- and getting really smart about the power of storytelling. Enjoy watching this video about the depth, richness, and beauty of storytelling that will help you truly engage with those around you.


As Chimamanda says at the end, reject the single story and regain a kind of paradise.


Many thanks to Gregg Morris who originally curated this for his Story and Narrative


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at ;

Via Karen Dietz