When something happens we like to tell others about it. This retelling of our experience often is done in the form of a story. “I can’t believe what Margaret just did. We have been working on the Acme project for 3 months and today she rings up, out of the blue, and resigns. I told her to get off the grass—no way! We spent an hour on the phone and it turns out she was unhappy with Jim’s attitude. Look like I will have to help build some bridges.”
This first telling enables us to hear what we think and upon reflection helps us make sense of what has just happened. The sensemaking process is also wrapped up in how we perceive our own character (our identity) and how we subtly portray our identity in the stories we tell. The sensemaking process is a learning process and stories seem to be the natural sensemaking mechanism. But perhaps more importantly is the need to have someone to tell your stories to; someone you trust.
About Shawn Callahan
Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of 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:
Send this to a friend