Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Springboard Stories - åben workshop for ledere

Tirsdage den 5. , 12., 19. og 26. februar kl. 13-17: Åben Workshop i Springboard Stories.

Der er mange forklaringer på, hvorfor forandringer går galt. Ofte er det ikke på grund af manglende engagement hos medarbejderne, men fordi de ikke kan identificere sig med forandringerne. En god historie er med til at skabe identitet og fællesskabsfølelse i organisationen - og sætter ord på det, der skal ændres. Lær hvordan du skaber en god historie, som gør jeres forandringer tydelige og meningsfulde. 

Pris: Donation. 
Tilmelding via

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Springboard Stories

Jeg har skrevet en artikel på om Springboard Stories - her er starten af artiklen: 

Springbrættet til forandring


Link til artiklen:

Der er mange forklaringer på, hvorfor forandringer går galt. Ofte er det ikke på grund af manglende engagement hos medarbejderne, men fordi de ikke kan identificere sig med forandringerne. En god historie er med til at skabe identitet og fællesskabsfølelse i organisationen - og sætter ord på det, der skal ændres. Læs her hvordan du skaber en god historie, som gør jeres forandringer tydelige og meningsfulde.

Af Svend-Erik Engh, Leading CapacitySom leder skal du skabe klare billeder af, hvordan succes kan opnås. Billeder baseret på et fælles værdigrundlag, som forvalter succesen både på det personlige og det organisatoriske plan. En god historie, fortalt på det rigtige tidspunkt og på den rigtige måde, giver masser af konkret erfaring fra sig og kan hurtigt gives videre. 

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Storytelling in Radical Management

A group of business innovators will explore the link between the new way of organizing the workplace and the ancient way of communication.

The event will take place in Budapest, Hungary the 28th and 29th of March - read more here.

The Radical Management introduces a serious of new communication challenges, where Storytelling is the key to success.

The new way of leadership requires communication based on open dialogue and direct actions. When you use stories to create trust, it starts the open dialogue with your costumer and continues in the open processes within your organization, that is the pathway to success.

This article explains the connection between Radical Management and Storytelling. As a storyteller I find it natural to start with the stories. Why do human beings tell stories?


Reality is a strange thing. Sometimes it almost seems logical. But then in an instant somebody smiles at you or hurt your feelings or surprises you. You’re hit by an emotion and, because you’re human, you build a structure around it. You tell a story.

The structure is inside your DNA. It worked for you when you were born, when you were a child, later as a teen ager when you fell in love, later as a parent when your children should know the basic values of being a human being, and again in the books you read, in the movies you watch, in the plays you watch, and again in your dreams, and again in your visions of the future and again and again …

Whenever there are two people, there is an emotion, and whenever you´ll find emotions, you´ll find a story.

Working place

An employee starts at his or her new workplace and begins hearing stories about the other employees, the values, the vision and the mission statement. The new employee asks a simple question, "Does the company do what they say they do?"

Depending on what the reality in the company is, the newcomer will consciously or unconsciously pick out a few of the stories told in the company and start retelling them in a way that reflects his values and the way he thinks things should be done.

In an interaction with the reality in the workplace, the newcomer acts, tells and is told about – and that is how the newcomer becomes a part of the company.

Every human being acts and uses stories to make his or her actions understandable. The way the stories are transformed tells the employee whether or not he or she is accepted by the organization.

Radical Management and storytelling

Radical Management is based on an open dialogue with the customer. The result driven organization is flexible for changes as customers needs are changing.

In the dialogue with clients your questions should be open and inspire for stories.

Your key to success is to translate these stories into action.

Radical Management starts with a story of client delight. The entire organization should tell and act according to this story.

As the process continues, the innovative solutions to the changing demands of the customer, constantly reflects clients stories as you proceed with new and innovative solutions.

The danish software developing company Systematic:

"We always make sure to involve our costumers actively in all phases of the development process. This means we can ensure users´ actual needs better."

Radical Springboard

The Radical Management principles are accused that it only works in software development. This is not so.

Let me tell you of a case, where an account department used the Radical Management principles of costumers delight and linked these principles with a proved Storytelling technique called Springboard Stories.

A Springboard Story connects the future to the past in the present.

A leader uses Springboard Stories to give employees a picture of the future possibilities. He or she finds an example from the past where a challenge was overcomed and tells the group about the event to inspire for more of the same actions. The outcome of a Springboard Story is changed behavoiur.

The Springboard Stories are explained by Steve Denning in many books and articles.


The account department had, like so many other community organizations in recent years undergone some structural changes and also a period of significant management difficulties.
Employees in the department needed to find positive stories in the organization, including their relationship to customers.
The Storytelling process were part of a two-day seminar entitled 'Identity and Development ".
The purpose of Radical Management Springboard process was to clarify for everyone, including employees themselves how the department can provide customers value.
The stories should motivate the staff to move in a direction that meets the customers demands, so their understanding, expectations and requirements are satisfied.

Before the seminar, we interviewed a selected group of the department's customers about what the costumers saw as the future challenges. Interviews were made on video and edited for presentation.

When we presented the videos for the group the response were mixed. Some were laughing, some were feeling the presure of the future challenges.

I asked for stories that could be used to illustrate how the department is already doing many things well and in fact do what is demanded by the customers. By doing so we clarified that the department in the future could meet customer requirements. By using a variant of Springboard Stories to sensitize employees about their potential we created Radical Springboard.

To focus on a combination of exemplary stories with future potential - Springboard Stories - and the customer's expressed expectations and needs, we created at the same time a great satisfaction and joy in their own practice (in the exemplary and forward-looking part of it) and a increased awareness and concern for customer needs, resulting in greater satisfaction and pride than before. A positive self-reinforcing process was initiated.

Participants were introduced to a practical method for knowledge sharing. “What is it that the individual does and what the others can learn from?” The method could be directly used in everyday life, in meetings, presentations etc.
By answering customers' expectations with: "We do that already," the participants acquired knowledge on their own resources. Participants gained knowledge of what the others did work on and could take this knowledge with them.

The challenge for the department in the future is to continue to see the value of a costumer based innovation.

The Radical Springboard technique have to prove that it can work in daily life. More to come!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Storytelling: first step or last step?

This is a blogpost I createdI want to raise a new issue: is storytelling the first step or the last step in the journey to revolutionize the world of work.

In Steve’s own journey, storytelling seems to have come first. Up till 1996, he was in the grip of traditional management. Then he discovered organizational storytelling and he pursued that through 2010. His new book is about radical management which means that managers have to start organizing things differently: new goals, new role for managers, new ways of coordinating, new values and finally, as a last step, communicating through stories.

My own journey is in some ways parallel. It also began with storytelling. Up till 2000, I was a traditional storyteller. From 2000 to 2010, I got involved in organizational storytelling, on some occasions together with Steve. This last year, I have come to deepen my work in interactive storytelling as the first step towards organizing things differently.

In Steve’s blog (I love the word revolution) he says: "the intellectual battle to have storytelling accepted in the world of work has been won. What was once seen as absurd is now viewed as obvious. Yet the grim humorless workplaces are still everywhere. That war has still to be fought. Thus I have come to see that storytelling by itself is not enough. In organizations today, we find a set of attitudes, practices and values that cripple the human spirit and hamstring creativity and innovation"

Steve’s argument is that storytelling is not enough to create the principles of customers driven and rapidly changing organizations the world needs today. There are other things you need to do first.

Is this so?

Could it be that storytelling, rather than being the last step and the last chapter in the revolution, should actually be the first step, as it was for Steve himself? Should storytelling really be the first chapter in the revolution, not the last?

The case for putting storytelling first
The seeds of the new organization lie in good communication. My own experience is that a good story told in the right way can create change companies in a positive way. That’s because storytelling creates life. And that’s what this revolution is all about: creating workplaces that are full of life.

Before radio, television, video, PC and SmartPhones, we were dependent on the narrated story, if we wanted to learn something. Narrators were often poor and uneducated, but through storytelling they were able to shape the lives of others in a positive way. These were not just simple tales that were told. They are stories of destiny that people could mirror themselves in, amusing anecdotes to loosen up tense situations, deep stories with gravity and force. All stories were told to delight listeners.

And delight was created not just because it was a great experience (a performance!), but because it was a chance to learn, to know more about life.

And it was always personal, because an oral narrative was and is a personal experience for each listener. The pictures, which are created, are the listeners' own.

And the relation between the teller and the listener could evolve as times changed and the listeners needed new stories. A communication designed to delight the listeners.


In the past, organizations talked at people, sending one-way messages. In future, communication needs to be primarily two way.

An oral story is exactly two way. You continually adjusts your story dymanic relative to your listeners, you imperceptibly influenced by their imaging, teller and listener creates a magical 'we'.

An interaction that companies will have to take into everything they do in the future.

This means that
Your company is included in an ethically, socially and environmentally sound interaction with the surrounding community
Your company enters into dialogue with customers
Your company is open about new products and that these be developed in collaboration with customers
Enterprise management creates actual stories that show the future possibilities and that management begins to live it, as the stories tell
Employees act in accordance with the values of the company and they tell stories when it happens - and that it is permissible to tell about the few times where values are being challenged
This is the germ of a new form of organization is first and foremost to the customers, the surroundings and the people best.

In short, we are going to change the organization by changing the way we communicate.

If that is so, shouldn’t storytelling be the first step, not the last?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Washington, D.C., 2006. Golden Fleece, a loose network of storytellers, consultants and businesspeople in Washington. A young consultant has signed up for my workshop to find stories that show the power of storytelling. My presentation at the Golden Fleece seminar is more or less the same as what's in this book. It's something completely new to the Americans. The content really makes them sit up and listen; the room is filled with energy, and new knowledge emerges.

After the workshop, the consultant is not satisfied. It turns out she wants to tell about her own experience with the power of storytelling, not other people's. I criticize her for not taking the opportunity at the workshop, while we were working with the stories. She smiles evasively. I tell her that this moment will never come again. Then she looks up at me with the most amazing eyes and asks if I would work with her stories now.

We run around a little, looking for a place where we can sit. We end up in some oversized armchairs in the middle of the lobby of the activity center where the seminar is being held. She tells me she's left the safe and secure world she knows. She was active in volunteer organizations, where, among other things, she saw Native Americans solving conflicts by telling stories. She saw how storytelling could be used to reach agreement on important issues. Now she will be working with some of the big players in the American corporate sector and is a bit nervous about it. She doesn't think her stories will hold up. I listen to one of the stories that she intends to present for these business leaders.

I stare at her, horrified. The woman sitting there is deadly boring, no sparkle in her eyes, and she's saying something that sounds most of all like homework. I interrupt her and tell her that I think it's one of the most boring things I've ever heard. She stops and looks at me, horrified. She thinks I mean the content of what she's saying. I wasn't thinking of the content at all; that will come later. No, I'm thinking of her face, her eyes and her body language, all of which very clearly indicate that it's not her personality that's there, only what's going on inside her head. She is pure will, nothing else, and that is deadly dull, let me tell you.

I tell her there are three things she has to remember when she tells a story:

1. Tell your story because you can't stop yourself. You are so filled up with what you want to say that you simply need to communicate it.

2. If you don't know what to say, then be quiet. Storytelling is not so much the words you say. It's more all the words you don't say. Some people call these "pauses." It is an unfortunate description, because what happens to the audience is not that they are put on hold: quite the contrary. It is during these short pauses that your audience is invited inside your story.

3. Feel your feet: if they are not planted firmly on the ground, I won't be able to feel your story. I will understand it, perhaps, but it's a poor effort if you just use a small part of your brain, and it's really also disparaging me as a listener if you only appeal to that ridiculously small part of me.

She tries to be the good student and does everything in her power to follow her teacher's advice. I'm still bored, so I stop her. I steer the conversation away from this task that she clearly has way too much respect for. At one point in the conversation, we laugh. Suddenly there's life in her eyes, and she feels great again. So I'm blunt: I tell her to take that energy she now has and put it into the story. She looks at me with surprise, but she's at least starting to understand. Then something happens. She does it, very slowly and quietly, tentatively. She sits with both feet solidly planted on the ground, throws her hair back and begins.

The change is amazing. The story flows, and there is now life in her eyes. I look in wonder at her hair: the light plays on it now, with a glow that definitely wasn't there before. Once we've cracked the code, the rest is easy.

I hear three of her stories and draw the following conclusions:

  • When you lay the foundations for a story, you must be as brief and clear as possible.

  • You must be one with your story.

  • Telling a story should first and foremost be a delightful thing to do.

1 N.F.S. Grundtvig, former of the Scandinavian Folk High School.

Artikel i - storytelling for en ny generation af ledere.