How important is business narrative in your organization?
20071108_KMWorld2007SteveDenning.JPGSteve Denning is up next, sharing his stories on how to get enduring enthusiasm for change, whatever the change happens to be. This looks like a good follow-on to this morning's session on change. I'm particulary excited to be here because I've followed Steve writing, both professionally and in my KM texts. Several people have told me that Steve's the greatest storyteller overall and that I should not miss the session. Let's see what he has to say...

What's the cost of not doing KM?
    Wall Street subprime crisis - why weren't they listening?

What's the missing chapter in most books on leadership or communications?
    How to inspire people to change.

Steve's just given us a warning that he's going to question some of the basic principles we have grown up with.

[personal action: purchase secret language of leadership]

The Secret Language of Leadership

The Western Intellectual tradition:
    Problem -> Analysis -> Solution

This works for people who are receptive to the information; but ineffective for anyone else.

Confirmation bias - people tend to use new information (even contradictory information) to become more entrenched in their current viewpoints

Steve shared stories of what happens when people are thinking (or not thinking) when presented with new information; their bias shut down their thinking.

Here's a different way:

Effective presentation to get action:
    Get their Attention -> Elicit Desire -> Reinforce with Reasons

Next, Steve asked us to tell a story in 60 seconds to someone we do not know about either a time when we found out about something our organization is really good at or a time when we faced adversity at work. The exercise went well.  Steve's point is that no one had any difficulty telling a story. People shared freely. There was energy in the room.  Story telling takes the complex and makes it sound simple. [I should use this approach when I promote eProductivity.]

    Less if more! The 60 second limit required us to choose words wisely in order to briefly share our story.

Steve, who was once in a senior position at the World Bank, shares a story of change at WB and how he encouraged them to transition from a bank to a knowledge sharing institution. [Action: review knowledge spiral]

Shared how he used storytelling to convince the World Bank how to use the power of storytelling to begin a KM program.

How do you get people's attention?
    Start where they are:

Share your story of adversity "how you coped with adversity"

Our problem now "Our problem now is much worse than you think"

Future problem - "and, left unchecked, it is going to get even worse!"

How do you elicit desire for change
  • Positive
  • memorable
  • lets listener contribute
  • generate a new story

Tools that generally work:
1.        Live experience
2.        A springboard story
3.        Externalization with a new story
4.        A metaphor
5.        The story of who we are
6.        A common memory story
7.        A positive challenge

Using story as a tool requires an understanding of narrative and how to deliver it.
Stories that lead to action are rare...

Springboard storytelling to communicate a complex idea and spark action

Must be a true story:
Storytelling only works if the tales are true.
Don't exaggerate or tell partial truths. Example, the classic titanic story: ":700 happy passengers reach New York after the Titanic's maiden voyage."

The story must be positive and plausible.

Must be minimalist
Let the audience (the listener and the little voice in the head)  process the story. Only give the details needed.
Give the little voice something to do...  "I could be like that, I could share knowledge. Wow! what a great idea I have just had."
 it's no longer my story, it is now the listener's story.

And, it leads to action!

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