The Christmas tree went up this weekend. Squeals of joy mixed with ‘careful, that’s precious’ filled the air as the carols and fire provided atmosphere. Many ornaments contain memories. And so with them, stories are told. Some are very old ‘like Daddy’ according to my daughter. And others are wrapped up labelled with ‘Grandma Lonny’s writing’.
Therefore putting up the Christmas tree is a long process. We tell stories of people the kids never met (Grandma), of ornaments that Mum or Dad hung on their tree as kids, and so on. These stories not only ‘make Grandma real’, they help connect the kids to Grandma. And give glimpses into the past, to our collective history, and insight into why we are who we are.
Organisations have stories too. Whether they are big, 100 year old, global NGOs or a small, local support group. We all have stories and histories which shape us.
Change makers know this. Change makers seek to understand the stories, the history. It gives them insight into the culture, into why ‘people like us, do things like this.’ Change makers also know that the stories we tell change overtime or what we emphasise changes. Stories are about identity and so too is culture.
And when we connect our change into our culture and identity, we have a greater chance of success.
The choice to spend the time listening and learning the stories is up to us.