Nature of business narrative

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —March 13, 2007
Filed in Anecdotes

Some people think a story must have a plot, character development, a protagonist, a turning point and a resolution. This might be true of a film script, a play, a novel etc. but in organisations stories tend to be much smaller and inconspicuous. Stories can range from well rehearsed retellings of a foundational moment in the organisation (the creation myths) to the smallest of utterances that immediately help people recall a story: “What happened, Fiona?” he asked. “Exactly what happened to Pedro 3 years ago,” Fiona replied. The story is replayed without anyone hearing it.

Most of the time business stories are short anecdotes recounting an event. Often these anecdotes are ephemeral, lost almost immediately after being told. Other times the anecdotes are enduring, a successful meme that is told and retold throughout the organisation. The enduring anecdotes shape the character of an organisation and are the most important stories to find.

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:

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