Organizational Storytelling From Transformation to ... change becomes smoother, more effective and engaging

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  • Organizational Storytelling …

    From Transformation to ‘Happily Ever After’

    Qabas Shaer MSc, CF/LSP, SSGB, CMQ/OE, PMP

    Dana Arafat

  • Once Upon A Time …

    … a consultant was asked to work on a project that involved major culture change, with emphasis on better understanding of organizational Values.

    The CEO said … I do not want values to change on our website or on the picture hanging at our building entrance …

    I want VALUES to change in people’s HEARTS!

  • The consultant, who is standing here today, decided to create a story that would engage and inspire managers and employees, throughout the journey of change.

    The story will focus on adopting the values required for the new corporate culture.

    Using Storytelling

  • Why Storytelling

    • Stories resonate with employees more than facts, figures, and charts. These were also used, but only after the story’s seeds had planted the required cultural shift.

    • Changing culture is by far the hardest element of change management to execute. To succeed, you need to connect with people’s feelings and emotions … something that the power of storytelling has been able to do since mankind developed the ability to tell stories.

    • Stories not only entertain people, but also trigger visual memories and enable the recall of information illustrated.

    • Stories don’t tell, they show: the ability of visualization engages everyone and makes them part of the story.

  • Example – A Story to Instill Organizational Values

    At IBM, a young woman was hired to ensure that only authorized people were allowed to enter a sensitive area of the plant. With a group of men, the chairman, Thomas Watson, Jr., approached the area where the guard was stationed, but he wasn‘t wearing the proper badge for admission. Even though the guard recognized Watson, she refused him entry to the area because he lacked the appropriate identification.

    The men with Watson were shocked. Someone challenged the guard’s decision, but Watson calmed the group and patiently went to get the identification badge to enter.”

    This story is hanging on the wall, at the entrance of the room, conveying the message:

    “IBM executives play by the same rules as other employees.” (Pike, 1992, p.12)

  • “Our company has just done the mission, vision, values thing. The CEO, who came to us from one of our competitors, did all the work. He went home on Friday, dug out the mission, vision and values statement from his old job, photocopied them on A3 sheets of paper and stuck them all over the walls from the ground floor to level 24.”

    Example – Stories to Avoid

  • Tools for Creating the Story Storytelling for Change Management

  • Storyboarding

  • Metaphorical Use of Characters & Objects


  • Project’s Target: Apply “Management by Objectives” as a method for performance appraisal.

    No. of employees: 120 No. of Departments: 7

    Main Project Objectives:

    • Identify the importance of creating objectives, planning goals and setting control points

    • Optimize strategy execution across departments and workforce entities • Increase transparency by making employees understand their role, their

    responsibilities and how their performance will be measured

    Project 1: Moving Towards a ‘Management by Objectives’ Performance Appraisal

  • How the Story Started: Cascading of Objectives

  • The Cascade Metaphorical Story

    Personal SMART Objectives

    Departmental/ Operational Objectives

    Organizational Strategic Objectives

    Organizational Strategic Goals

    Organization’s Mission/ Vision

  • Project’s Target: Create a ‘Value-Driven Culture’; by better understanding the organization’s values and exploring (within each team) what each value represents to enhance employee engagement, team spirit and alignment with the organizational strategy.

    No. of employees: 98 No. of Departments: 6

    Main Project Objectives:

    • Understand key organization’s values and explore their attributes • Enhance employees’ engagement and motivate teamwork • Move towards a ‘value-driven’ culture and improve alignment with the

    organization’s strategy

    Project 2: Moving Towards a ‘Value-Driven Culture’

  • The Values’ Story Using LEGO ® SERIOUS PLAY®

    ‘All aligned towards one goal’

    ‘All in one boat’

    ‘Part of the same journey’

  • • Moving from a ‘Consultant-Led’ approach to creating Heroes that write and live up to their own ‘Stories of Change’

    • With full team engagement and high interaction, sailing through change becomes smoother, more effective and engaging

    • Like any other tool in the change management toolkit, when used strategically, organizational storytelling can help the organization’s leadership to successfully implement change and sail from disruption to “Happily Ever After”!

    Storytelling for Change Management

  • “A good story makes you feel something and that is universal. It brings out your values and your commitment to excellence; makes you inspired and captivated. Storytelling is the most powerful way to convey these ideas.”

    -Mark Truby, Vice President of Communications, Ford Motor Company

    Organizational Storytelling …� �From Transformation to ‘Happily Ever After’ Slide Number 2 Using Storytelling Why Storytelling Example – A Story to Instill Organizational Values Example – Stories to Avoid Storytelling for Change Management Slide Number 8 Metaphorical Use of Characters & Objects LEGO ® SERIOUS PLAY® Slide Number 11 Slide Number 12 Slide Number 13 Slide Number 14 The Values’ Story Using LEGO ® SERIOUS PLAY® Storytelling for Change Management Slide Number 17