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Storytelling with slides: meaning is inferred

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —September 7, 2017
Filed in Anecdotes, Business storytelling, Insight

Simple Slides I’m a big believer in simple, clear PowerPoint slides. If I’m going to talk about the 54% of people who have no idea about the company strategy, I’ll put up a slide with a big ‘54%’ in 155-point font on it, and only after I’ve spoken about it will I add any other […]

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Book Review of Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —August 10, 2017
Filed in Collaboration, Communication, Culture, Employee Engagement

We were about 20 years too early. Back then, my group at IBM extolled the benefits of understanding organisations as complex systems – ones where it was impossible to predict how things were going to turn out; where technology and the speed of change fostered non-linear relationships; where a small thing could have a big […]

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In Praise of Shitty Storytelling

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —August 2, 2017
Filed in Business storytelling, Communication

Perfect stories told perfectly are suspicious. This is especially true in organisations. Business people feel more comfortable with imperfect stories. They are better received. Here’s a small example. I recently heard a government employee tell a story about a work-related change he was experiencing. Mid-story he said, ‘… and then there were some big policy […]

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Strategic storytelling: use stories to explain why

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —July 21, 2017
Filed in Business storytelling, Fun

I recently learned something of the utmost importance about stories from a world-class magician. On a trip into the city, I popped on a podcast to amuse me on the drive. This American Life is on high rotation on my iPhone and I was excited to see there was an episode called ‘The Magic Show’. […]

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The Role of Storytelling in a Team of Teams

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —July 18, 2017
Filed in Business storytelling, Culture

Four-star general Stanley McChrystal became the commander of US forces in Afghanistan in the mid-2000s. When he arrived in the country, he found the American military operating much as it always had, through command-and-control organisational structures. It didn’t take him long to figure out that wasn’t working against an enemy organised in flat networks that […]

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Business Storytelling in Mexico and Latin America

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —June 30, 2017
Filed in Business storytelling, Selling

It was exciting to visit Mexico again. I was totally blown away with the beauty of Monterrey. It’s like having a city the size of Melbourne nestled among the bluffs of Yosemite National Park. For some reason I was expecting a flat, desert landscape. It reminded me of Singapore somehow but without the tropical downpours. […]

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Embed a new way of thinking with stories

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —May 11, 2017
Filed in Business storytelling, Culture, Leadership Posts

As I have said before, if you want to change a work culture, you need to change the stories that are told about it. But I’ve never been a fan of the single-story approach to change. Personally, I can’t think of a time when just one amazing story transformed a company. (Some have even gone […]

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Like it or not, stories are shaping your company culture

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —April 28, 2017
Filed in Business storytelling, Culture, Strategy

Gerry Lynch is the general manager of Mars New Zealand, the food and retail business that gives us Mars bars, M&Ms, MasterFoods and Whiskas, to name just a few of their brands. The company, which employs a couple of hundred people, is also a regular finalist in, and winner of, New Zealand’s long-running IBM Kenexa […]

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Don’t try to change someone’s mind, do this instead

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —March 15, 2017
Filed in Business storytelling, Collaboration, Culture

Last month, The New Yorker published an article called ‘Why facts don’t change our minds’, in which the author, Elizabeth Kolbert, reviews some research showing that even ‘reasonable-seeming people are often totally irrational’. Kolbert’s popular article makes a good case for the idea that if you want to change someone’s mind about something, facts may […]

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Discovering your strategy with a business strategy story

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —February 24, 2017
Filed in Business storytelling, Strategy

Companies often mistake planning for strategy. This seems to be particularly true of large organisations. A few years back, we got a call from a large company headquartered in the Netherlands. Their head of strategy felt that their people didn’t understand the company strategy – a common concern across most big businesses. The strategy group […]

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