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How to get all your executive team on the same page with your strategy

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —July 24, 2013
Filed in Business storytelling, Leadership Posts, Strategy

Have you ever had that feeling that your executive team is all saying they understand and support the strategy but you sense that they are not really on the same page? This is a common occurrence and it becomes starkly apparent when we are helping a company translate their strategy to a story everyone can […]

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The analogy story and Tim Costello

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —July 8, 2013
Filed in Anecdotes, Business storytelling

I’ve recently had the pleasure working with World Vision Australia. In case you don’t know them, they’re Australia’s largest charity and they focus on child and community well-being across the world. You might have sponsored a child through World Vision. A few weeks ago I caught up with their CEO, Tim Costello, and I was […]

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A strategic story mustn’t be a script

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —June 6, 2013
Filed in Business storytelling, Strategy

Smart people hate to be told what to do or say. Yet way too often leaders are given a standard set of powerpoint slides or even a script and are asked to share these pearls with their colleagues. Enthusiasm, and authenticity, plummets. There’s definitely a better way. A few months ago I was teaching 150 […]

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Writing oral stories

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —May 25, 2013
Filed in Business storytelling, Communication

When you see a poem you know it’s a poem. When you see a screenplay you know it’s a screenplay. Most people, however, have never seen an oral story written down. Probably because it’s an oxymoron. Yet there are times when it’s useful to write an oral story down. For example, when you’re helping a […]

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The world’s best business story practitioners

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —April 30, 2013
Filed in Business storytelling

Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with some terrific business story practitioners. And because we love to know who are the really great story folk in our region, I thought I’d share who I think are the best story practitioners who are great to work with in the world today […]

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Pulling the strategy together with a story

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —April 25, 2013
Filed in Strategy

Last week I flew to Vienna to help a pharmaceutical company develop their strategy. It was a two day event. We used the first day to explore their current situation and past by, among other things, creating a massive visual history across one wall. We delved into the important events that have shaped them and […]

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Helping Big Data Scientists be Storytellers

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —April 5, 2013
Filed in Business storytelling

We’ve said often on this blog that you just don’t get the benefits of storytelling (meaning, memory, caring) unless you are telling a story. Over at the HBR blog last week Jeff Bladt and Bob Filbin from DoSomething.org wrote a piece entitled A Data Scientist’s Real Job: Storytelling. Their point was simple. Data on its own is […]

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The Role of Storytelling in Government

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —April 4, 2013
Filed in Business storytelling, Strategy

  “Government managers secure the resources they need to operate not by selling products and services to individual customers, but by selling a story of public value creation to elected representatives of the people in legislatures and executive branch positions.”1 Private sector leaders have it easy: they sell their products, they generate revenue, they manage […]

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Using stories to catch ‘smart-talk’

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —March 18, 2013
Filed in Business storytelling

He looks the part; he knows all the right buzzwords; he can quote chapter-and-verse from all the best-known pundits and practitioners. But is it all just empty ‘smart-talk’? Smart-talk is information without understanding, theory without practice – ‘all mouth and no trousers’, as the old aphorism puts it. It’s all too common amongst would-be ‘experts’ […]

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In praise of small stories

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —March 11, 2013
Filed in Business storytelling

Leaders should find and tell stories to help their people understand the concrete actions needed to get a job done, enact a business value or even implement a strategy. Stories are our user manuals for life. There’s a tendency, however, for leaders to find and tell the big stories in the business—it’s human nature. For […]

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