Dumbing down

My mate Tony Quinlan makes a good point about storytelling as a change technique in organisations.

Storytelling is a misnomer. It conjures up the image of a passive audience sitting listening to someone with the charismatic persuasive power to entrance them. It revolves around a carefully-constructed story designed to carry you out of the day-to-day to somewhere else and change your thinking while you’re there.

..some of the greatest opportunities for employee engagement lie in listening to stories, not telling… The real power and opportunity for using stories in organisations is in listening to stories helping others to create their own authentic stories and making sense of the stories told.

Tony also talks about how he struggles to avoid his views being dumbed down, and references this Nasrudim story recounted by Dave Snowden.

Nasrudin found a weary falcon sitting one day on his window-sill. He had never seen a bird like this before.

‘You poor thing’, he said, ‘how ever were you to allowed to get into this state?’

He clipped the falcon’s talons and cut its beak straight, and trimmed its feathers.

‘Now you look more like a bird,’ said Nasrudin.

1 thought on “Dumbing down

  1. Mark E

    Top stuff, J.

    Thing that strikes home for me is that it’s their multifaceted web of stories that THEY tell that counts (not the single brutal narrative arc of the CEO/manager/brand etc etc



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