Though good communicators instinctively tap into the power of storytelling, once into adulthood, we in the sophisticated West shrink from the story as a form of communication . In so doing we neglect an extremely compelling and intuitive instrument.

Particularly in the modern business environment we can find no place for the story as a method of getting our messages across. And yet there are occasions when the story is the perfect tool of business in communicating ideas, values and insights. Across the business spectrum organisations are re-inventing themselves. Quality, Re-engineering, Empowerment and all the other modern techniques include the aim of altering cultures in the organisation. Those cultures include the handed down wisdom, practice and myths of the organisation. Storytelling can be the ideal medium by which we can explore and identify the existing culture.

When it comes to sharing the vision of the desired culture, what better way than by storytelling. The tradition of storytelling revolves around visions. Neverland, Oz, Shangri-la. The storyteller gives us a picture of how it might be, as well as how it once was.

From time to time I post stories which I have used in organisational change programmes to show how managers, developers and facilitators can increase their skills in narration, and enhance their communication, by appealing to the innate receptiveness of people everywhere to a good story.


Communication A story used to encourage ownership of communications problems in a large Government Agency.

Power A story used to provoke debate about ethical business behaviours in a harsh environment.

The More Things Change A story used to illustrate the challenges of change to human behaviour.

Last Updated on 12 December 2002 by COLIN J TIERNEY