To change the way we work we need to change our mental models, and that requires insight.
In The Neuroscience of Leadership David Rock and Jeffrey Schwartz describe how our improved understanding of the brain is helping to reorient how we design organisational change initiatives.
The article recommends leaders create situations where their people get a new insight into how they view things: what is the dominant mental model?
One of the most effective technique to help create this insight is archetype extraction. It involves collecting anecdotes from people in the organisation on a theme such as customer service and extracting the archetypes from the many stories.
An archetype is a embodiment of the organisation’s culture in the form of a complex yet familiar character. An archetype is usually partly good and partly bad; a complex mix of traits. Not to be confused with a stereotype, which is typically an oversimplification based on simple categorisation or role: “Oh, he’s a librarian.”
We take these anecdotes into a workshop of 10-20 thought leaders and influencers who could benefit from an alternative perspective.
The workshop participants identify the characters and their character traits from the collected anecdotes on customer service and using a facilitation process they morph into the archetypes, which are often drawn by a cartoonist for greater visual impact.
The cartoons in the post depict some of the archetypes that illustrated the culture of a large Australia organisation. Once the archetypes are identified people can then use them to discuss some of the un-discussables without getting personal.
Most importantly the participants will have obtain a new insight on how the organisation views itself or another group.
About Shawn Callahan
Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on: