Stories is how we make sense of our lives.
Yet, we're unreliable narrators. Even when we have better data, better models, and better people, we still fail to see how it is stories that shape circumstances, and not the other way around.
The job of strategists and sense markers is often simply to teach companies to edit. So they can write a new chapter. For that, the first step is to be curious about what the narrator is not willing to see. Then identify the supporting characters who enable that point of view.
Last year, I participated in a call with the CEO and other C-Suite members of an online infrastructure and digital services provider. Their outlook was optimistic. Everyone working from home! We're in the right business kind of optimistic. They had their story figured out: do more of what worked in the past, and the world is our oyster.
The CEO was particularly set in his point of view. Of course, when a company makes a pile of money and gets to a certain level, there's confidence in that story. Except for in the first few months of the pandemic, many companies pivoted. New entrants figured out what people wanted, and worked hard on their new stories. Circumstances had changed.
Fast forward nearly one year, and the company had to make a radical change to move forward: a new CEO.
We all want freedom to act as we'd like, except when it comes to the situation we're in. It's hard to take responsibility for your role in the story. The other thing we all want is change, but we don't want to let go of the familiar story.
The story you tell yourself could be the reason why there's a mismatch between you and your customers, team, family, etc.
An incomplete or misleading story needs editing. That's a wonderful way of thinking about it. Lori Gottlieb is a therapist, she's knows all about self-reinforced stories.
Staring at a blank page is never easy for a writer, or creator of any kind. Editing is a different process, you have things you're working with, they just need a courageous look to shed light on what fits and what doesn't in the new story you want to create.
What would happen if you looked at your story
and wrote it from another person's point of view?
What would you see now from this wider perspective?
We all long for connection. Yes, even CEOs and high ranking executives. Learning to write the story from the point of view of the audience is a valuable skill. A courageous edit can open new opportunities.