The enemy of your stories

narrative, story, vision
Business narratives are hard to convey because they force us to articulate why our business exists and why others should consider what we do.  Jeff Bezos’s executive meetings start in silence. Everybody has 30 minutes to read the executives’ six-page memos in which they discuss their ideas in narrative form. Why in narrative form? So that everybody fully understands what they are trying to present. PowerPoint is not allowed. A business needs to be clear about its narrative before turning it into stories. The narrative covers why they are here, why they cares, what they are changing, and why it matters. The narrative can sometimes be understood as the foundations of the story. Apple’s narrative is great design and performance, and building a better future. Before we tell any story…
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The right vision might take courage

indigenous peoples, vision
During the first years of my PhD I did a lot of research on my topic. I spent endless hours at the library reading books, materials and documents while my friends were partying in Ibiza and enjoying lazy days on the beach. I worked really hard.  At one point I thought I knew almost everything about my subject. I’m not kidding – even my supervisor was surprised at how much I’d accomplished in my first years. I was full of myself. That year I started teaching indigenous leaders about international law and human rights. In my head they were victims of the system and I was the hero lawyer who was going to help them use international law to defend themselves from governments and evil corporations.  I was an important…
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Starting with you

story, strategy, vision
Strategy and vision stories are, in one way or another, stories about us, because what we’re aiming to do with these stories is to bring people on board. We hear all the time that when you craft a story you need to think about your audience and it’s true, but there’s a subtle difference with vision and strategy stories: they need to be deeply connected to you, the teller. You’re the one who’s going to lead your listeners, who’s suggesting the way, the timing, the resources, the people. You need to answer the questions “Why you?” “Why now?” “Why them?” “Why us?”  You craft your story using a structure that helps you deliver your message, but the emotional connection and urgency in the story that you tell are equally important.…
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The common ground

starting, story, vision
Often we need to tell our story, strategy or vision to people who have other values and interests. When this happens arguments and logic can trigger defensive responses and we may be perceived as lacking in empathy.  Stories about how this feels for me, why this is important, what happened to me so I started seeing things in this way, can be more appropriate in these circumstances. Vulnerability can create the common ground that allows me to hear you even though I may not share your values and beliefs.  It is in this space that possibilities can be created. You don’t communicate your strategy or vision to convince people but to invite them on a journey to transform their reality.  And, as with any invitation, we might get “no” for…
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Where does your vision stand?

Your vision is not just an idea, neither is it a dream or something in the future. Your vision doesn’t live in your head, and it’s not a picture or a statement hanging on the wall. If it doesn’t make your heart beat faster it’s not a vision; if you don’t become energised when you talk about it, maybe it’s not for you. I once heard Steven Pressfield saying that stories and books live in another realm, waiting for us to have the courage to write them. Maybe your vision is waiting for your courage too: the one that comes with feeling, acting and doing to reinvent the possibilities and stories around us.
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