Assignments and clients

Click on the text to read stories and experiences the role, power and pleasure of working with storytelling.

Powerful leaders

Educational Civil Society

Research into the effect of changed behaviour

Transition: psychiatric hospital needs to do more with less

Connecting core values with the organization

Integration of a merging organization

Communicate the company vision

Every year, the 25 top men of this large technical organization come together. During these two packed days, they share knowledge about projects, continents they are responsible for and discuss their role as leaders. This year, they decide to work with storytelling, to understand each others worlds, bond and share knowledge. Stories of Change spoke with some leaders, directors and workforce all in all corners of the company and the world, gathering approx. 100 sensemaking stories. One week before the meeting the leaders were sent one (anonimized) story per day, out of this storyweb. Unknowingly they were familiarizing themselves with lived stories, the language of others in the organization, important theme’s and repeating patterns. On the day, the leaders worked with a collection of the stories. They interpreted and translated the messages, they discussed the implications of this for their role and strategy in the next year. Together they cocreated a leadership story with a hero, events, a plot and a time perspective. During this exercise, they exchanged their own stories and they moved away from “alpha men” protecting their own territory, to a team focus. This was new and came as a pleasant surprise for all – not in the least one of the moderators (Suzanne) the only woman in the room…

Despite budget cut, this large city council has to make sure children can grow up safely in two of the poorer neighbourhoods. With no experience being in the lead, they seek cooperation from professionals like local youth carers, schools, neighbours, health care workers and parents. Their expectations and experiences come together in the stories they narrate. Connection is made with the objectives of the council in a co-created story about an educational civil society in these specific neighbourhoods. Whilst working with the different groups a movement takes place and parties that were enemies, started to recognise and find each other in a shared passion for children and a common goals, suited to their individual values.

A leading financial is contemplating relating bonuses to changed behaviour by its employees instead of on turnover. This major shift in policy requires them to make, what they refer to as “soft side” of the organizations culture visible and accountable. We started with determining indicators to which results could be measured. After stories were gathered in the organization, we identified the repeated patterns in them. In co-creation with the board, management and the workforce, a culture shift became accountable and could easily be related to the organization’s structure. Simple but effective and it turned out to be an eye opener for this financial.

Like many hospitals and institutions involved in care in the Netherlands, this hospital is being reorganized to deliver more quality care, for more patients but with a lower budget. In all corners of the organization experience stories are gathered with doctors, nurses, support staff and patients. There is a large gap between the government regulations, management goals and the language and theme’s visible in the stories. By sharing each other’s stories and reproducing them in the frame of the new situation, the transition emerges, whilst a representative group of 10 people make sense of the changes. They cocreated a new story of and about the hospital – one that makes sense and gives meaning to the hard task ahead. This story starts to lead its own life and whilst narrating it influences how people talk about the transition; it influences a more positive behaviour; Organizational members start to take their own responsibility and recognize their role in the changes.

This technical organization has just finished a project with an external consultant, trying to find its core values. The exercise results in a list of words consisting of 5 core values and 9 “support values”. Unfortunately, everyone has his own definition of the words. Suzanne looks for the stories behind these words. Interviews were held with the board of directors (3), department heads, team leaders and employees (12 in total) at different locations and disciplines. This helped directors to understand the organization. With this knowledge and stories the governmental task, political environment and organizational goals, can be aligned. It results in 4 core values with underlying stories from the organization and one story that is making sense of the targets for 2020. The core values find its roots and focus in the personal stories of employees and management.

To speed up the process of developing new and innovative medicines this large international organization, purchases companies throughout the world. To accomodate this, the mother organization is reorganized. A new leadership team wants to position their specific treatment area in the organization and is looking for a shared story for it’s 1250 employees worldwide. Aligning stories from the merging company with stories from the mother company, teaching leaders to listen differently, a movement starts to take place. It becomes clear the current workforce feels neglected by their leaders as they feel their attention goes to the merging company. Leaders are now using stories from both organizations ànd their own personal stories. This is a total surprise to the workforce as they feel heard and taken seriously and their leaders clearly show they are prepared to change their behaviour. This reflects on the workforce that are slowly moving towards engaging with the new organization and its continuous changing; their role in this process becomes clear to them.

Assisting management and employees of this governmental organization in formulating their internal and external communication strategy. Basis is a research into the status quo of organizational members, customers and stakeholders. Training management and workforce into narrating their shared vision in a cocreated story both internal and outside the organization.