Tuesday, December 05, 2006

More stories--this time, listening

After my post last week about storytelling in business, I received a nice comment from Shawn Callahan of the Anecdote blog about using stories in business another way--about collecting and making sense of stories to understand deeply what's happening in a company. Shawn's ideas are summarized here.

Imagine that your company has recently reorganized. Deep in the organization many disruptions ensue. But what exactly is happening, and how do people really feel about it? Without this basic information it's impossible to assess the impact of the change, and how to mitigate the negative effects of the change.

Stories can help. Getting employees to describe in detail what is happening to them, without imposing limitations such as predetermined hypotheses, closed-ended questions, numerical ratings, etc.--yields much deeper insights (here's a neat white paper from Anecdote describing how this works). And from those insights, a company can design effective responses to improve the work environment and help an important change take root.

Thanks, Shawn, for pointing this out.

(Picture: the listening ear from sailortownbelfast.org)

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