Three Questions on Narrative and Meaning

Let’s continue exploring meaning.  Stories and narratives.

Stories reveal meaning.  Stories are everywhere, every day.  They engage our imaginations. They can entertain and delight us.  Stories can stir our emotions, express our values and stoke our motivations.

Stories woven together create narrative. Every organization has a narrative. And if you’re a leader you have a fundamental job to be the Narrator-in-Chief for your people. Start by listening to the stories of your people.  The themes you’re hearing evolve into a narrative that articulates your shared journey. This collective narrative invites dialogue and encourages alignment. It creates context and illustrates meaning.  Most important, this narrative meaning motivates action.

Here’s some ways you can work together to start uncovering your company’s narrative now.

First, list three chapters from your organization’s past you think have played important roles in its journey.

For each chapter write down your response to these questions:

o  What were the challenges?

o  What did you learn?

o  How does it fit into the company’s evolution?

Now group similar themes that start showing up. This is step one. It’ll stimulate some healthy dialogue about alignment and direction.

Next time, we’ll look at how this emerging narrative informs business strategy.

Meanwhile, our guiding formula is showing up:

·     Story yields Narrative

·     Narrative yields Meaning

·     Meaning yields Alignment

·     Alignment yields Performance


About the Author Graeme Thomson is Director of Strategy at The TAI Group. Visit The TAI Group, like us on Facebook, and follow along on Twitter @TheTAIGroup.