Future-oriented Storytelling can help us envision and move towards a successful transformation.
Leaders have a unique role as storytellers, influencing the mindset and culture. Research on the relationship between positive image and positive action by David Cooperrider, Case Western Reserve University professor of Social Entrepreneurship shows that we create what we can imagine. Uncovering possibilities feeds our imagination, which is key to leadership that informs and also engages, inspires, and activates.
Future-oriented stories talk about options, focus on feasible possibilities and energize a way forward.
Even in today’s environment of new work where we talk about agility and purpose-driven employee engagement, much of our current stories include backward-thinking and tell about what we have to have to get rid off.
In fact, problems placed in a larger context become challenges to overcome rather than reasons to despair. They inspire creativity and innovation.
Tips for telling future-oriented Stories
I offer a few tips out of my personal experience in coaching change and transformation:
- Turn a problem into a possibility by asking for example:
What might it look like if things were working?
What brilliant possibility will we miss, if we go on as until now?
- Ask questions to discover the best of what is, to imagine what’s possible and to uncover ideas
- Cover what’s already happening to improve a situation or what made you successful so far.
- Tell stories that present alternatives to dominant beliefs about “how things are”.
- Invite colleagues, peers, empoyees to offer ideas about what they see as possible and what actions they can imagine to move forward.
Future-oriented storytelling feeds culture and helps us to navigate uncertainty by focusing on creative ways forward.
Inspired by"Enlivening edge - Amplifying the evolution of organizations and social systems"