Competing Stories

by | Jan 4, 2022 | Change |

competing stories

The ways and means through which we share information can be used by others as well. Especially today. This applies to digital means (e.g. websites, blogs, social media, and so on), print means (e.g. anyone can publish a book now), conferences (anyone can convene them), and other means like conversations, sharing lunch, coffee, and so on. These ‘channels’ are not limited to us. Therefore, stories spread. And like the ‘telephone game‘ as the stories are retold, they change.

However, every shared experience has more than one story attached to it. Significant cultural events often have conspiracy stories too. For example, the moon landing or more recently the COVID pandemic experience. Alternative stories competing to control the narrative.

And while your organisational change process is unlikely to have a sophisticated conspiracy theory attached to it, there will be competing stories and narratives. Change makers expect this. This is one of the key reasons we talk often of the need to continually communicate using a variety of methods. Simple stories and phrases are best for passing along (again the telephone game teaches us this). However, change can be complicated and even complex. Therefore, simplicity is not always achievable, which is why we need to use all the means available to us. But we also need to avoid the trap of only using the means which enable us to push information out and avoid interaction.

Interaction is likely the single most important communication tool change makers have and use. Too often we avoid it, which results in alternative storylines to take hold.

Photo by Ugo Mendes Donelli

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