What’s the Story?

We believe in the power of stories to cascade vision and embed aspired culture across large organisations. In our experience in global companies, storytelling is an essential tool for senior leaders to share values and purpose and to replace negative and unhelpful narratives with stories inspiring a positive vision that drives change and builds the ideal future.

But there is a more personal dimension to the power of story that also needs attention.

Each of us has stories about ourselves, our leadership, our strengths and limitations. These stories are often unspoken and we can re-tell them in our minds for years. The stories we tell ourselves impact our thinking and behaviour. You can uncritically re-tell yourself the same old story for years in a way that it becomes unhelpful and limiting. For example, some people have an old story about an area of weakness based on feedback from a line manager from years ago. Many leaders retell themselves the ‘I’m not good at public speaking’ story for years, while others regularly replay their ‘I’m not the sort of person who gets promoted here’ story without critical analysis.

If you have a few minutes, think of a story that you’ve been telling yourself for years. Get curious and ask yourself these questions:

• Is this the truth, or just my story?
• What’s the evidence that backs up this story?
• Is this an old story that needs to be replaced with a new story?
• What would be possible if I created a different story?