The Leader's Guide to Storytelling


1: Imagine we are standing in line at the grocery store.

“Scientists Discover 4,000-Year-Old Television Set in Egyptian Pyramid,” reads the tabloid headline on the magazine rack beside us.

We shake our heads and smile. Seriously? We question the reliability of the story. Not our belief as to when television was first invented. 

“When we think we know something to be objective truth, our immediate reaction to news indicating the … continue reading

Different goals. Different stories.

Yesterday, we looked a the power of a springboard story.

1: As leaders, we want to have many different types of stories in our leadership tool belt. We are wise to “employ a variety of narrative patterns for different aims,” Stephen Denning writes in The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling. “The point is that there is no single way to tell a story. Instead, narrative … continue reading

1: “Human communication has its own set of very unusual and counterintuitive rules.” Malcolm Gladwell tells us.

Exhibit one: If we want to inspire people into action, providing detailed scenarios doesn’t work.

Why? “Even if believable when disseminated, such scenarios quickly become discredited as the future unfolds in unexpected ways,” Stephen Denning writes in The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative.

Yesterday, … continue reading

1: “Organizations often seem immovable,” Stephen Denning writes in The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling.  

The good news?  

“They are not,” he notes.

So, how can we possibly move the immovable?

“With the right kind of story at the right time, they are stunningly vulnerable to a new idea,” he observes.

His book provides a guide to finding and telling the right story at the right time. His premise? The … continue reading

1: As leaders, one of our most important responsibilities is communicating new, sometimes complex ideas and inspiring action to implement change.

What’s the best tool we have to accomplish this critical objective? We tell a “springboard story,” writes author Stephen Denning in The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative.   

In past RiseWithDrew posts, we’ve looked at key elements of this specific type of … continue reading

1: What are the two most important words in the brief story below?

“In 2019 in Paris, the head partner of a law firm noticed that the staff of the IT department became markedly more productive when they arranged the work in self-organizing teams that worked in short cycles and delivered value to their clients at the end of each cycle.

“He then introduced the approach to the paralegal staff … continue reading

1: The year was 1984.  

Guy Laliberté, a former accordion player, acrobat and fire-eater in Montreal, looked at the existing circus industry and saw a losing proposition,” writes Stephen Denning in The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling. 

Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey dominated the struggling circus industry, whose shows primarily attracted children. Expenses were high due to the cost of transporting and caring for the many animals. … continue reading

1: “Seven hundred happy passengers reached New York after the Titanic’s maiden voyage.”

This week we are looking at the key elements of what author Stephen Denning calls a “springboard story.” This specific type of narrative “performs the most useful thing a leader can do: communicate a complex new idea and inspire action to implement it,” he writes in The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling.

A springboard story is authentically … continue reading