The Power of Storytelling for Individual and Organizational Change
Many say casually, “You could write a book about what I’ve been through!” But how much time do we spend considering the stories of our lives? Being able to describe the story simply can help us to recognize the archetypal energies that are affecting us. A person who says “I’m always the bridesmaid and never the bride,” or “I must have been born under a bad sign because I’m unlucky” may not realize that these types of stories are fueled by energies that can be changed, allowing new, more satisfying stories to take their places.
Each of us has an individual story about our lives. However, we also have common stories we share with others, stories that may be worth examining and changing. Recently, I came across a beautifully written book called The Halo and the Noose: The Power of Story Telling and Story Listening in Business Life by Graham Williams and Dorian Haarhoff. It’s a valuable resource for those interested in the processes of organizational change and how to effect it.
While understanding that businesses can be looked at through the lens of numbers and statistics, the authors make a persuasive case that it is even more powerful to look at them through the lens of story. This lens focuses on the soul of a business and sees its connection to the larger mythic themes of which we are all a part. Those connections provide information and energy for business transformation. Ultimately, they affect whether a business flourishes.
Drawing from a deep reservoir of stories from literature and folklore of global cultures, Williams and Haarhoff, who are business consultants and workshop leaders, engage us as at the mythic, soul level. They illuminate the power of storytelling and listening to stories, both of which can stimulate change that otherwise might not happen. It’s similar to the work I do in my workshops and with my individual clients, and work I have done with medical professionals seeking to transform the practice of medicine.
Working with the power of storytelling can help you develop creative and innovative approaches to make changes in any area of your life, including in your career or livelihood. If you engage others in your business or group to identify and alter your collective story, you can achieve breakthroughs.
“Stories raise awareness, stimulate thinking, facilitate leadership, offer flexibility and possibility, nurture and engage,” say the authors. One of their workshop participants said, “I see story as a honeycomb, a structure to hold the honey.” I think that’s a marvelous metaphor. The Halo and the Noose takes us into a honeycomb of food for the soul—useful information and inspiring stories that can be used to transform any business or organization that needs to change and innovate.
What is the collective story of your business or organization? Is that working for you? If you could describe the story you would like to co-create for your business or organization, what would it be?