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Why use business narrative techniques?

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —March 17, 2007
Filed in Anecdotes

Whenever someone asks me this question I tell them this story.

One of our first narrative projects was to help a government department assess their occupational health and safety practices to see whether their policy and procedures were being following and to determine their training needs. We formed two teams to collect our data, one used structured interview techniques and the other collected stories. At the end of the first day of data collection both teams got together to compare notes. “Well, looks like they pretty much have things together,” said the interview team. “They seem to follow the procedures and policies quite well.” The narrative team members looked at each other in amazement. “So you didn’t hear about the guys showering in their own urine because their recycling system is faulty or how in one workshop everyone wears protective shoes because a guy chopped the top of his foot off a while back but no one wears protective eye wear?”

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:

One Response to “Why use business narrative techniques?”

  1. joitske Says:

    I’m curious whether the narrative team learned something from the survey team too? (I’m quite on the qualitative data and adverse to questionnaire, but think I could balance more towards those too).

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