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Before storytelling comes story listening!

In a more or less quiet room, a great metaphor is thought up, adapted to the organizational vocabulary and unleashed on people. The result: Blah, blah, blah… Something central was forgotten, don’t you think?

“We need a good story!” echoes across the long hallway. The sales director shouts this sentence to his department managers as he runs past, because he has to rush to the next meeting. “We need a good story” is the quintessence of a long meeting in which he and his men ‘smoothed out’ the strategy for the coming restructuring. And now only one thing is missing – the right story. In this way, they understood the storytelling, they can capture the employees, take them along, inspire them and promote their solidarity. Finally, it is important to find a suitable metaphor that reflects their shared values, tradition and goals. And so it happens as it has to happen. In a more or less quiet room, a great metaphor is thought up, adapted to the organizational vocabulary and unleashed on people.

The result: Blah, blah, blah…

Something central was forgotten, don’t you think?

Before storytelling comes story listening!
Still neglected, it lives in the shadow of the main act. It’s actually a shame, because it’s only through proper listening that the ingredients for storytelling emerge. How successfully can a story be conveyed if it is poured out over the employees? Constant repetition doesn’t make it any better. It puts people in a student-teacher situation that is as inappropriate as it is ineffective. Because your employees are not your students.

If you want to take people with you (in and through changes), then you first have to find out where they are and how they are doing. You will only find out if you listen. Asking them how they’re doing usually produces one-word answers like “OK” or “Allright.” You won’t gain anything by doing this. You need the stories that are anchored in the minds of your employees. The “how was it” and the “where are they today” then becomes a good story for “what it will be like”. You yourself are in the present and want to move into the future. The key to this lies in the past, because that is what your employees are connected to. You have to start from there, including your story. So that you can put them together, let people tell you anecdotes and their stories. Listen, do story listening.

Storytelling is not a good first step towards change. It’s the second one and comes after Storylistening! Start change with your next conversation  – start change with www.qohubs.com

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