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The risk of not wanting to know

There is risk in not knowing, but there is also risk in not wanting to know. Many of the risks that your project and business will face in a near future will come from the unknown, the unexpected and the unpredictable, as Covid did. And many other risks will come from what’s already out there but we don’t want to see it.

Like when Kodak ignored the digital future of photography.

Behind not wanting to see what’s coming to us there’s a narrative, a story that we tell ourselves.

Coaches work with stories such as the one the CEO or MD tell themselves about the company, their leadership style or their team performance, but coaching often fails to address the narratives that circulate in a company, shaping decisions, perceptions, ideas, and processes.

The problem is, you can’t influence people who don’t see or don’t want to see what you see. No storytelling technique or storyteller will do the work either.

What happens in the margins matters as much as what happens in the centre. You can’t tell a story effectively if you don’t know the narratives that are holding people back.

Ignoring marginal narratives or pretending you don’t see them is no longer an option. Do you want to make your project resilient and minimise risks? Go and talk to people in your organisation who defy your ideas, or those you normally ignore in your company. If these people are even a marginal part of your project, you need to find common ground with them.

If you succeed in creating common narratives that bring them all together you will make your narrative stronger and more inclusive and resilient.

And common narratives minimise risk and maximise impact because they bring the centre and the edges together in a way that tolerate friction and disagreement while encouraring us to see what we don’t want to see.



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