Storytelling in Agile!
A very intense and constructive workshop yesterday with strong reflections on how to use the Springboard Story concept in Agile settings.
The first question was to find the personal springboard story. What story made you go Agile? When you start with a personal question and let
people talk about their own life, something happens in the room. The intensity and the concentrate listening was joyful and full of new knowledge given and taken. for more on the importance of personal stories: http://svenderikengh.com/washington.pdf
The second question was to find a Springboard Story for your working life.
- What is the change idea? Reachable, desirable and concrete.
- Tell a story where this change idea is already happening. The past shows the ways of the future.
- Link it to the present – “Imagine if …”
See Steve Denning´s template: http://www.stevedenning.com/slides/Template-FullSet-Sep06.pdf
The third question was to give examples of a way to make the client tell stories when you meet them.
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.
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.
“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.
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!
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.
While you are telling your story, you must be aware of the reactions from your listeners.
I am at the 2002 Lejre Storytelling Festival. I am telling stories outside a farm cottage area. There are about eighty people sitting in the sun listening to my stories. Steve Denning, former Director of the Knowledge Management at the World Bank and at that time a world wide renowned expert in Business Narrative, stands at a bit of distance. I can feel that there is a good flow in my stories and I start my storytelling interaction dance with the audience.
When I am done, Steve comes over to me. He tells me I am a completely different person when I am telling stories. I protest, I am not playing any characters. Then he laughs and says that I am being touchy.
He says that my presence transforms into a double presence. On the one hand I was very much aware of every single member of the audience, how their breath changed, how their eyes changed into a concentrated listening mode. On the other hand I was also present in the story, how every single character in the story was clear for me, how landscapes were shaped in seconds.
This interaction between the presence of the audience and the present of every single aspect of the story, is what we call “The Double Presence”.
In this highly interactive workshop you will learn how to
– craft a story that serve your purpose
– tell the story to an audience
-get feedback to the story content, the way it was told and clear advices to improve your telling
One week before the workshop: 1/2 hour interview prior to the workshop exploring the needs of the participants
4 hour workshop
1 week after the workshop: One to one coaching on Skype or Zoom
Svend-Erik creates a uniquely inspiring and creative learning environment based on trust and expert narrator skills. Svend-Erik har a broad experience based from culture as well as organizational contexts, and brings his great personality to his coaching practice, too.
Søren Buhl Hornskov, Docent at Københavns Professionshøjskole
When you listen to a story, you know that you´re having a constant influence on it. It may not be something you notice consciously, but just the feeling of eye contact, the direct and clear communication between two people is enough for you as listener to feel that you are important in determining the direction the story will take.
Each of the people listening to a story affects how the story develops. It is a strong feeling to transform into the real world: You helped shape the story – now go out and shape reality. You have to experience it to understand it completely, how the almost hypnotic state a story can put a person in can stimulate action.
Dario Fo, from Italy, the winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize for Literature and a wonderful storyteller: “The audience has always been my litmus paper, every second. Are you able to listen to them, does the audience conduct you like a conductor of a major orchestra?”
The organizational tree
There are basically three kinds of stories you tell in your organization
• Future stories – the canopy and the fruits on the tree: Visions of what the immediate and long-term future will bring to the organization. The Springboard Stories are told in a minimalistic way.
• We stories – the trunk of the tree: Stories that create identity. Values become alive in these stories. Pattern of these stories: Home – challenge – new home
• Personal – stories – the roots of the tree: Every person in the organization is important and every voice should be heard. Some of these stories should stay hidden under the surface. Often with details and some senses activated.
When you as a manager prepare a presentation for a group of employees, think of these three elements, connected to the I -, We – and Future – stories:
• Have you created trust by telling a personal story? Nobody wants to be lead by ‘another suit’.
• Is there a element in your talk that involves a ‘We’? Can you tell what the group have done in a positive way? If not, can you use a negative story to establish a desire for change?
• The last part of your presentation is crucial to the outcome of your encounter with your audience – do you leave them with hope? Is the vision understandable for the group? Is it desirable?
Tuesday 6th November from 9am to 1pm, somewhere in Copenhagen, Denmark
Max. 6 participants
Price: 1500,- kr. + moms including lunch, coffee and a book on storytelling.
Storyteller Svend-Erik Engh
Storytelling Coaching: providing tools for everyone using stories in their work and life.
As your coach I will find your way of telling stories authentically in supportive one-to-one coaching sessions, either in person or via Zoom or Skype.
Whether you are a beginner or a more experienced storyteller, I can offer you guidance in how to
– shape and craft a story for a specific purpose
– tell your story authentically
– engage your audience
– develop confidence as a storyteller and a public speaker
I will provide you with take away tools that you can use when storytelling. Through a method of engaged listening, I will coach you in keeping your audience engaged. We begin with what works for you as a storyteller and we build on your strengths, so when you meet your audience, your storytelling will become a dance. Together we will find the joy in telling stories.
I have been working as a Storytelling Teacher and Coach since 1994 where I led my first workshops at Borups Højskole in Copenhagen. Since then I have worked with Teachers, Businesses, University Researchers, Artists and anyone else needing guidance in becoming a better storyteller.
I was Associate Professor at Copenhagen Business School and was Communication Manager at Dall Energy, Copenhagen for six years. Between 2008 and 2010 I was giving regular presentations and workshops at The Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.
I am Certified Practitioner Steve Denning Leadership Storytelling and founder of the Storytelling Academy in Sweden.
In 2017 I moved to Edinburgh from Copenhagen. Here I perform and teach storytelling and work frequently with The Scottish Storytelling Centre. I’ve recently made and performed two shows; GIANTS and Walk the Oars which premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe.
I am on the TRACS directory of storytellers.
For more information or to book a session email firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: Edinburgh City
The 1st October 2018 5pm – 7pm
In 2008 Svend-Erik Engh became a Licensed Storyteller: Steve Denning Leadership Storytelling and has proved to be the only one of its kind.
Together Steve and Svend-Erik facilitated workshops all over Denmark, Sweden and USA.
Steve Denning once in an interview said “Svend-Erik is someone that masters both storytelling and business, he has taken the time to understand the difference between entertainment storytelling and business storytelling, he brings a unique level of enthusiasm and warmth into all the projects he is involved in, he listens and he is a funny guy”.
Three times they filled The Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. where leaders from around the world came to learn the power of Storytelling.
After ten years of intensive work with Storytelling, Steve Denning moved on to explore the Agile world. In his book ”The Radical Management” from 2006 he points out Storytelling as the main principles for Agile communication.
Having worked with him for ten years, Svend-Erik knows Steve Denning’s storytelling methods better than anyone.
In this short introduction you will learn something about
· How a Springboard Story can change a mindset
· How you can, as a member of an agile team, communicate the wishes of the client in the form of a story
· How you can ask questions in such a way that you get a story as an answer
We approached Svend-Erik with the job of coaching researchers to develop engaging narratives of their research. Svend-Erik creates a uniquely inspiring and creative learning environment based on trust and expert narrator skills. Svend-Erik har a broad experience based from culture as well as organizational contexts, and brings his great personality to his coaching practice, too. All in all, I can thoroughly recommend Svend-Erik for any professional looking to improve on his/her storytelling skills.
Søren Buhl Hornskov,