Monthly Archives: March 2011

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Storytelling and manipulation

John's reflections, Storytelling, Storytelling and marketing Leave a comment

Last week, I spoke at the Grenoble Graduate School of Business to a group of visiting masters-level students from London and Singapore.  These individuals were in France for a “personal development week”, and my session was about some of the “myths and realities” that I have discovered in my research and coaching of leaders. When I evoked one of my favorite concepts, what I call “leading by autobiography”, I made one of my recurring points about storytelling—that effective leaders inspire others with their authentic stories of identity. As happens often, someone in the audience asked the intelligent question: “Where do we draw the line between a leader’s storytelling and manipulation?”  … Continue reading

Is the concept of Slow Management beginning to take hold?

Events, John's events, John's reflections Leave a comment

Recently, I received an invitation to speak, and to lead a workshop, at the Foire de Paris, one of the oldest and largest trade fairs in Europe, around the theme of “Slow Management and Well Being at Work”. When they sent me the schedule of events, I was frankly amazed by the depth of their interest in the theme of Slow and its various incarnations.  They have organized the “Slow Café”, a 10-day event from April 28 to May 8, with various events and themes: slow business, design, human relations, slow leisure time, slow well-being, slow travel, slow attitude and harmony with nature, for example. For their promotional material and … Continue reading

Beyond the creation of our stories, the act of telling is critical

John's reflections, Storytelling Leave a comment

Of course, the word storytelling has two parts: story and telling.  While an increasing body of literature seems to be focusing on the power of “story” to define our identity, and on the importance of story in human thought, less is written about the “telling” part.   In this entry I would like to put the focus squarely on storytelling in the human mind and in everyday life. In the previous entry, I wrote of the narrative processes that dominate all human thinking.  In our minds, we are constantly creating and updating our storylines.  Our personal stories, the ones we tell ourselves all the time, are the way we understand and … Continue reading

On stories and storytelling: “We tell ourselves into being, don’t we?”

John's reflections, Storytelling Leave a comment

The other day, a friend sent me a link to the following article in The Spectator (Click here) It is an interview with the well-known British-Indian author Salman Rushdie.  There is one passage where I find him particularly insightful and articulate on the topic of human beings and their use of stories.  Here is a part of what he says: “We tell ourselves into being, don’t we? I think that is one of the great reasons for stories. I mean, we are the storytelling animal, there is no other creature on earth that tells itself stories in order to understand who it is. This is what we do; we’ve always … Continue reading

Social media—connecting people…and not only for revolutions

John's reflections, Key to communities Leave a comment

As we watch the web-assisted protests unfold in the Middle East, and marvel at the omnipresence of social media in today’s world, it reminds me that we have seen viral movements in other, perhaps less dramatic, contexts.  The internet and mobile devices make possible spontaneous movements and dramatic reactions of citizens, in ways that would have been difficult to imagine only a few years ago.  Here is one example that demonstrates the modern methods by which the people of a nation can put pressure on their government. On 20 August 2010, the government of Argentina announced its intention to close the state-owned internet service Fibertel.   Within hours, angry customers had … Continue reading

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