As I indicated in my last posting, personal narratives can be very limiting and confining. They can shape powerful prisons offering little opportunity for escape. In a world of mounting performance pressure, I fear that most of us are falling into personal narratives that are dysfunctional and don’t serve us well. But, by making these personal narratives explicit, reflecting on them and then making choices to craft a new narrative, we can evolve personal narratives that amplify our potential for impact.
The process of making this narrative explicit had a powerful impact. It made me aware of how limiting and confining this narrative had been on my life. It also made me aware that there was another part of me that was struggling to express itself, a part that was much richer and ultimately far more rewarding. So I began to craft a new narrative, one that I’m continuing to evolve, but one that is far more satisfying. It goes something like this: “let’s overcome our fear and feel the excitement that comes from exploring new frontiers on the edge together so that we can provide others with platforms to achieve more of their potential.”
When we mend, we make meaning from the raw materials of our lives and create ourselves in lines of illumination that show where the stories are by Justine Musk
Corporate narratives offer some powerful benefits in an increasingly competitive global economy. They help to provide compelling differentiation and leverage by pulling people to us and building long-term relationships, but they also catalyze distributed innovation as the people we attract begin to venture out in pursuit of the opportunity we have framed. They also have a central role in motivating the employees within the company. Even though narratives do not explicitly speak to them, they help the employees to understand how they can have an impact on people outside the company far beyond selling them more products and services. Those who master the art of compelling narratives will have a much stronger competitive advantage than those who ignore this opportunity.
We’re on the edge of re-imagining story-telling, enabled by next generation virtual reality devices like Oculus - what will uniquely engage?
Wonderful story about a woman with a disabling genetic condition who only lived to 25 but had great impact
Great exploration by Jonathan Marks of my perspective on the difference between story and narrative
As the Big Shift drives us into a world of scalable learning, opportunity based narratives can help us mobilize a much broader group of participants on a set of questions and opportunities so that we can all learn faster by working together. This kind of narrative is rarely used in business today. Those who master this form of narrative have the potential to create significant advantage by accelerating learning while at the same time differentiating themselves from companies still mired in self-important “Grand Narratives.”