David Maister’s latest article: Strategy Means Saying “No”

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —May 24, 2006
Filed in Strategy

I was flattered to read that David Maister recently quoted me in a recent article on strategy based on a comment I’d made on his blog. I was making a point about how the stories staff hear about senior management will only change if senior management acts in new ways worth retelling. These new stories then change the perceived needs and desires of senior management (see Art Kleiner’s idea on core group dynamics) which in turn affects the decisions made at the coal face. A modified culture emerges. Unfortunately its impossible to predict what exactly will unfold. Consequently its vital that leaders know which stories are being retold (use anecdote circles) and why people think they are significant (most significant change). It’s only by detecting the weak signals and adapting continuously can a productive work environment be maintained in the face of change.

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:


  1. anjnette says:

    It seems that many of us are thinking about “no” as a constructive intervention. Coming from a psychoanalytically informed perspective I really value the boundary marker that “no” is. It’s a pivotal moment in our development when we understand that “no” means I can control my world. I see so many executives who are exhausted by this 24/7 always “on” and always “available” culture..I wrote a small piece on “no” here – drop by sometime

Comments are closed.