Re: Storytelling LO1009

Keith Cowan (
Mon, 1 May 1995 23:06:27 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO981 --

> I've started to notice -- perhaps belatedly -- considerable attention
> being paid to the concept of storytelling as a way of transmitting
> learning. My own notion of storytelling is of a way of not only making
> sense of the past, but of constructing future strategies; at the same
> time, it must involve all constituent parts of an organization -- external
> and internal.

Interesting amplification. IBM executives used this approach in their
twice yearly strategic planning sessions. A key executive would be given a
topic, and the effective ones would relate examples of what they had
learned about the topic through their journey in search of organizational
learning. They would drag the executives through the examples in hopes the
the lessons they had learned would fit through the filters and models of
the executive and stimulate the 'right' actions.

Many executives only presented the politcally-correct stories and this got
IBM in trouble. BUT without the PC filter, this method was very effective.
That is, by rewarding the bearer of bad news, IBM could have avoided the
PC barrier and had the best of both worlds.

Keith Cowan       Phone: (416)565-6253           FAX: (905)858-7131
Toronto        Internet:  Compuserve: 72212,51