Narrative Therapy What is in a word? A world. – Michael White Narrative therapy engages with a client’s world through the dominant stories at play in their life story. These are often problem-saturated narratives and the purpose of narrative therapy is to identify alternative narratives that allow for thicker and richer descriptions of who we are. Central to our work is the application of narrative therapy principles to re:authoring the narratives of self, teams and organisations. This work is about [...]
Aristotle said: “The greatest thing by far is to have mastered the metaphor.” And the Spanish philosopher and writer Jose Ortega y Gasset added, “The metaphor is probably the most fertile power possessed by man.” Metaphors are bridges connecting the new and the familiar. They help a skeptical audience embrace and value a new idea or concept. Why is that important? This past week we've been in several meetings where we discussed the use of narrative in change management. In essence [...]
The 2009 Cognitive Edge Accreditation kicked off in Johannesburg today. We're running the accreditation in conjunction with Cognitive Edge and Steve Bealing (CEO) is here from Singapore running the session. It's Steve's first visit to South African, and Africa for that fact. He's on a whirlwind learning curve on South African culture and traffic ... We'll be live-tweeting the event over the next few days athttp://twitter.com/narrativelab. Follow us there for course updates, thoughts and nuggets of wisdom on narrative and complexity.
We've been accepted to present, alongside some sharp thinkers, our approach to Narrative Change Management at the 29th Organisational DevelopmentWorld Congress. The Congress will take place on 20th and 21st July 2009 in Pretoria (info here). In our presentation, we'll profile how a narrative approach to change management can be applied within change programmes to improve engagement, resilience and awareness. In particular, we'll be looking at a case study of how we developed a Change Story for the Turnaround Strategy within theDepartment of Home Affairs. Hope to see you there.
Our mining safety research collaboration with Deloitte has been profiled on Mining Weekly. Feel free to read/comment/distribute it. Read it here.
Here is a simple diagram outlining where you could apply narrative/stories in your organisation, and to what end:
Most traditional companies are quite intentional about choosing their mission, often settling on a well-crafted statement that sets market domination and excellence as their target. Sonja and I have been less intentional, and have rather let our mission emerge over the last 12 months - emergence is a key factor in managing complexity after all :) What is our mission then? It's not market domination, nor is it service excellence ... while those are important factors of our business. Rather, [...]
Here are some descriptions we often use when introducing ourselves and what The Narrative Lab does: Making sure you ask the right questions about your problem Why solve a problem the very same way it was created The common ground between complex problems and simple solutions Different approach, and yet strangely familiar Helping you gather the stories you really need to know about Harnessing the power of story-telling and story-gathering
During a really interesting meeting this morning, it was said: You never hear about "accountability struggles". Power is highly desired, accountability not so. This line articulated a pattern we see often in culture audits. Manager's hesitance to accept responsibility and accountability for decisions often lead to inertia and a "pass the buck" mentality that is detrimental to the productivity and morale of employees. I wonder how much of this is caused by a general intolerance to failure in an organisation. [...]
We're a finalist in the SA Blog Awards for a second year in a row. We're chuffed as we've been nominated in the Best Business Blogand Best Group Blog. To those who nominated us, thanks. To those who might be tempted to vote for us ... mosey on over to the blog awards widget on the right of this page, click and enter your vote for us (and other amazing local blogs). Voting closes on 1st April 2009.