Using Organisational Storytelling as a Creative Leadership Strategy
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Using Organisational Storytelling as a Creative Leadership Strategy

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  • 1. Using Organisational Storytelling as a Creative Leadership Strategy Teresa S. Welsh, Ph.D. [email_address] 7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 2.
    • “ Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience… They are the currency of human contact.” Screenwriter and author Robert McKee (1997)
    • “ Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.” Theologian Robert McAfee Brown (1920-2001)
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 3. Why is Storytelling Important?
    • Storytelling is an integral part of human nature
    • Learning to use storytelling in a purposeful way is an effective leadership strategy
    • Storytelling can be used to capture and transmit organisational knowledge
    • Storytelling can facilitate collaboration and stimulate creativity .
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 4. Why is Storytelling Important?
    • Stories are:
    • Memorable – mental images triggered by stories tend to stick
    • Providers of context, stories increase accurate & meaningful knowledge transfer
    • Related to visualization, a powerful teaching tool
    • Effective learning strategy:
      • The greater the number of senses that we engage and the greater the interactivity, the greater the learning and retention rate (Edgar Dale, 1946)
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 5. Narrative Theory
    • Man is Homo narrans (man the storyteller) 2
    • Humans are narrative beings
    • Human rationality is determined by
      • “ inherent awareness of narrative probability , what constitutes a coherent story,
      • and their constant habit of testing narrative fidelity , whether the stories they experience ring true with stories they know in their lives.” 3
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK [2] Walter R. Fisher (1987). Human Communication as Narration: Toward a Philosophy of Reason, Value, and Action . Columbia: University of South Carolina. [3] Walter R. Fisher (1985). "The Narrative Paradigm: In the Beginning." in Journal of Communication 35.Autumn. pp. 74-89.
  • 6. How was information collected, stored, & retrieved before writing?
    • Collected, stored in human brain
    • Passed down by oral tradition
    • Used mnemonics:
      • Pictures
      • Knots, beads,
      • Song or rhythm
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 7. Cave Art, Lascaux, c. 40,000 BC May be Related to Oral Tradition 7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 8. Oral Tradition: Iliad & Odyssey
    • Epic stories of the Greek/Trojan War of about 1200 BC
    • Passed down through oral tradition during centuries of illiteracy
    • Written down c 800 BC
    • Attributed to Homer
    • Thought to be myth until 1870s - Schliemann found ruins fitting Homer’s description
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 9. Storytelling in Organisations
    • In The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling (2005), Denning emphasized role of storytelling as an effective, creative leadership tool
    • “ The choice for leaders in business and organisations is not whether to be involved in storytelling - they can hardly do otherwise - but rather whether to use storytelling unwittingly and clumsily – or intelligently and skillfully ”
    • “ Management fads may come and go, but storytelling is a phenomenon that is fundamental to all nations, societies, and cultures, and has been so since time immemorial”
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 10. What roles can storytelling play in an organisation?
    • Capturing tacit knowledge
    • Preserving organizational history
    • Training new & existing org members
    • Sharing & managing knowledge
    • Building organizational culture
    • Instilling organizational values
    • Facilitating organizational change.
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 11. What are the categories of stories in organisations?
    • Stories about other people
    • Stories about the work itself
    • Stories about the organization
    • Stories as social bonding
    • Stories as signals
    • Stories about the past
    • Stories about the future
    • Stories about life itself
    • Stories about oneself and identity
    • Electronic storytelling (Prusak 2001)
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 12. From Information Management to Knowledge Management
    • Data = symbols
    • Information = data + meaning
    • Knowledge = useful collection of information
    • Wisdom = understanding
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 13. Origins of DIKW Hierarchy
    • In his Futurist article, Cleveland cites T.S. Eliot as the person who suggested the DIKW hierarchy. Cleveland names it "the T.S. Eliot hierarchy".
    • In 1934 Eliot wrote in "The Rock":
    • Where is the Life we have lost in living?
    • Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
    • Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 14. Knowledge Management
    • KM is interdisciplinary, primarily between information science and business management.
    • Emphasizes the recording and sharing of human knowledge and experience within an organisation.
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK Information Science Business Management KM
  • 15. Knowledge Management
    • In mid 1990’s, there came a realization that much organisational knowledge resides in humans and is not written, but tacit. With that realization, a new field developed known as “knowledge management” or KM.
    • According to KM Glossary (2007), KM is the "systematic process of finding, selecting, organizing, distilling and presenting information in a way that improves an employee's comprehension in a specific area of interest."
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 16. Knowledge Management
    • KM is about the way organisations create , capture and re-use knowledge to achieve organisational objectives
    • Knowledge is created in heads of people, captured by
      • putting it on paper
      • entering into a computer system
      • or simply remembering.
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK By Bill Waterson
  • 17. Scholarly Literature of KM & Storytelling
    • What is the publication pattern of KM & storytelling in the scholarly business/management literature over the past decade?
    • What are the core journals that published articles on this topic?
    • What dissertations have been published on this topic? (Welsh, Wright, 2006)
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 18. 1. What is the publication pattern of storytelling and KM, 1995-2005?
    • 83 core articles identified
    • 1995-1999 -19 (23%) published
    • 2000-2005 - 64 (77%) published
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 19. 2. What core journals published articles on storytelling & KM?
    • Journal of Organizational Change Management
    • Journal of Management Inquiry
    • Organization Studies
    • Emergence: Complexity and Organization
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 20. 3. What dissertations or thesis have been published on this topic?
    • Landrum, Nancy E. 2000. A quantitative and qualitative examination of the dynamics of Nike and Reebok storytelling as strategy , Ph.D., New Mexico State Univ.
    • Astle, Marilyn M. 2001. Reconstructing work on the Web: Collaborative online inquiry and storytelling with Canadian women entrepreneurs , Ph.D., Fielding Graduate Institute
    • Masterton, Simon J. 2001, The Virtual Participant: Story telling in a computer-supported collaborative learning environment , Ph.D., Open University (United Kingdom).
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 21. 3. What dissertations or thesis have been published on this topic?
    • O'Neil, Vanessa J. 2002. Evaluating storytelling as a method for training at Wisconsin Electric-Wisconsin Gas Company : A case study, Ed.D., Cardinal Stritch Univ.
    • Arnette, Betsy A. 2003. Story as an approach for facilitating a KM innovation , Ph.D., Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State Univ.
    • Tyler, Jo Anne, 2004. Strategic storytelling: The development of a guidebook for HRD practitioners implementing storytelling as a business strategy for learning and knowledge transfer , Ed.D., Columbia Univ. Teachers College.
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 22. 3. What dissertations or thesis have been published on this topic?
    • Oker, Garry. 2005. Storytelling information management system (STIMS) . M.A., Royal Roads University (Canada).
    • Maury, Mary D. 2005. The development of a business ethics curriculum module emphasizing values and storytelling , Ed.D., St. John's University School of Education, Human Services.
    • Ward, Maria S. 2006. Omoshiroi: An appreciative narrative about quality circles in the Toyota production system , Ph.D., University of Kentucky.
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 23. 3. What dissertations or thesis have been published on this topic?
    • Stovall, Steven A. 2007. Gathering around the organizational campfire: storytelling as a way of maintaining and changing for-profit organizational cultures , Ph.D., Antioch Univ.
    • Ugboajah, Pele R. 2007. Narrative as influence: a Delphi study of storytelling as entrepreneurial leadership best practice , Ph.D., Capella University.
    • Copeland, Angela D. 2007. Organizational storytelling: the creation, maintenance, and projection of stellar reputations, despite negative images of service , Ph.D., Howard University.
    • Victor, Allen F. 2007. Stories of success: Narrative communication themes and the direct selling industry , M.A., University of Texas, Arlington.
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 24. Storytelling as a Creative Leadership Strategy
      • When knowledge is shared and used , it leads to more knowledge creation (KIT Institute).
      • Storytelling has re-emerged in modern times as an effective strategy for capturing and communicating tacit knowledge, for problem-solving, for inspiring creativity and innovation .
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 25. How can one develop creative leadership skills?
    • Have a vision; communicate that vision to others
    • Develop and demonstrate ethical values, both professionally and personally
    • Know your field; be well-organized and prepared
    • Be cooperative, flexible; learn new, diverse skills
    • Be confident, willing to take a risk; try something new
    • Be committed to professional development - take classes, workshops, seminars on leadership
    • Mentor others; encourage others to develop professionally
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 26. How can one develop creative leadership skills?
    • Show up on time [50% rule for success]
    • Show up on time, follow through, do what you say you will [75% rule for success]
    • Show up on time, follow through, strive for excellence; do your best on any assigned tasks or projects [95% rule for success]
    • (Sara Hook, Indiana Library Federation Annual Conference 2002)
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 27. How can one develop creative leadership skills?
    • Use storytelling, humour, and visuals to communicate
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 28. 7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 29. Visualization 7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK “ Everyone visualizes whether he knows it or not. Visualizing is the great secret of success…. We all possess more power and greater possibilities than we realize and visualizing is one of the greatest of these powers.” Genevieve Behrend, author of Your Invisible Power (1881-1960) “ Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
  • 30. Visualization Exercises
    • Where do you see yourself one year from now? Visualize yourself being productive, doing something that makes you feel happy and fulfilled.
    • Where do you see yourself in ten years? What contributions would you like to make to your field?
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 31. Recommended Texts
    • Brown, J.S., et al. 2004. Storytelling in organizations: why storytelling is transforming 21st century organizations and management . Elsevier Science & Technology Books.
    • Denning, S. 2005. The leader’s guide to storytelling: mastering the art and discipline of business narrative. John Wiley & Sons.
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK
  • 32.
    • Thank you for your attention.
    • Questions?
    7/04/2008 8th International Creativity Conference Greenwich, England, UK