Stories

I’ve been thinking about stories lately… not as in user stories (though I did very much like Mike Cohn’s new book), but the ones we tell and re-tell in organizations. Those stories shape how we think about ourselves, our work, and what’s possible.

And stories help people share knowledge.

When I facilitate retrospectives, I ask people about the story and tease out different perspectives on events.

With this in mind, I attended Sandor Schuman’s session on storytelling in organizations at the recent International Association of Facilitators conference.

Here’s a way I learned to get a group telling stories to share knowledge.

Choose a proverb. Now tell a story that shows how the proverb has meaning for your project.

Haste makes waste.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

This too shall pass.

Time will tell.

Any port in a storm.

Your sins will find you out.

There is strength in unity.

For more on how storytelling works in organizations, see “Telling Tales” by Stephen Denning in the May 2004 HBR (an excerpt here)at Stephen Denning’s website, or visit Sandor Schuman’s site.