Smithsonian symposium - April 21-22, 2006 #storytelling

Steve Denning

Last Thursday, I was listening to Bob Sutton, Professor of Management Science at Stanford, give an entertaining talk about his interesting new book, "Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-Based Management." The book argues - who can disagree? - that it's not a good idea to pursue management practices that evidence has shown to be ineffective or counter-productive.
At one point, he was asked, "Is there anything really new about evidence-based management?" Bob replied, "No. But then again, neither is anything else. There are no new management ideas out there. I'll offer $5,000 for anyone who has a genuinely new idea in management."
Well, after the lecture, I went up to Bob and claimed the $5,000. He said, "For what? There's nothing new about storytelling."
"What's new," I said," is that we are discovering that there are certain narrative patterns associated with different leadership challenges. If you understand these different narrative patterns, you can be much more effective as a leader. For instance, a story to share knowledge has a very different pattern from a story to spark action, or a story to transmit values."
Bob agreed that this indeed did sound new to him. I gave him a copy of my book, which he's agreed to read and to consider me for the $5,000 prize. I'll let you know the outcome.
Meanwhile, if you'd like to learn more about what's going on in the exciting new field of organizational storytelling, you might want to consider attending the Smithsonian storytelling weekend on April 21-22, 2006 in Washington DC, a time incidentally when the city is at its prettiest.
It's a non-commercial event, with an array of speakers from all the around the world, explaining what's happening in this field, showing its application to a variety of leadership challenges, including sparking change, enhancing collaboration, sharing knowledge, transferring values, communicating the brand, taming the grapevine, leading people into the future and more.
If you can't attendyou might want to pass this notice along to a colleague.
What: Smithsonian Organizational Storytelling Weekend
When: April 21-22, 2006, 9 to 5.30.
Where: Washington DC
Who should attend: Anyone facing a leadership challenge, who wants to understand what you do, 9am on Monday morning to get change in the world.
Fees: Friday: $95-$140; Saturday: $35-55
Steve Denning
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