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The Power of Story

“If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”

Antoine de Saint Exupéry



I would be delighted to discuss with you how a story-driven consultation could assist your organization to make your current activities more effective and/or empower innovation and transformation in your enterprise. There are many stories about how this approach has benefited other teams, organizations and projects; some of those stories may help you begin to envision your own.

  • Paul Belserene

    +1 604.925.8967

    • Paul's Resume

    The objectives are nothing new. clarity, motivation, commitment, effective teamwork, innovation, strategic achievement and the accomplishment of meaningful goals. Every organization works towards these objectives and many organizations struggle to do so, especially in times of change.

    Until recently most of us didn’t naturally think of storytelling as an essential tool for our organization and that is probably because the word comes from outside of our corporate training. It’s something we’ve known about for longer than we’ve been working. Story is in our childhood, in our culture, in our identity and in our spirit. And perhaps it is exactly the “bigness” of this tool that makes it both hard to see but so amazingly potent when put to use.

    A story touches us where we live, not just where we work. And of course everyone involved in your enterprise whether executives and employees, or customers and colleagues, is a living human being above all. This is the big “aha” of storytelling: it taps into bigger, richer and more powerful sources of energy than any other strategic approach.

    Story doesn’t do anything by itself, but it empowers everything.

    What makes story powerful is that it is rooted both in physical reality and human creativity. What makes it strategic is that it illuminates real situations and inspires real people. What makes it transformative is that, through the power of story, something that might not otherwise have been possible comes into being.


    Story connects the heart and the head. It seeks, and roots itself in, what is most fundamental and meaningful about your enterprise – your higher purpose. Because this human purpose is larger than your organization itself, story not only allows you to marshal the internal forces you need to accomplish your mission, it also provides a clear and accessible way to help others, outside of your organization, identify themselves with your vision. This is the essence of marketing and the key to differentiation.

    Story serves as a guiding hand in the ongoing development of a project. It is not a plan, which may be torn up or modified as conditions change. The story engages the emotions, imagination, aspirations and intellect of each project team member. It is something that each member can own and articulate in their own words. A plan that does not reflect both changing reality and the vision/motivation of the team will quickly get one lost.

    Your story won’t tell you what you’re going to build; it will remind you why you’re building in the first place, it will help keep everyone “on the same page,” and it will help you all keep the goal in mind as you go.


    Story doesn’t replace vision, it articulates vision in deep and compelling ways. Story doesn’t replace strategic planning, it brings meaning and purpose to strategy. And story doesn’t replace implementation, it encourages, and give courage to, the agents of change.

    Storytelling is especially important in projects that require a large number of people to work together over an extended period to bring something to fruition. Here story works as a compass. It is also important for organizations offering a product or service to a broader constituency. Here it serves as a bridge, facilitating a two-way exchange of information and energy.

    Because story is such a deep and universal part of our psyche it is quite possible that ad hoc stories and storytelling are already emerging to fill gaps in your operations. It’s possible they are conflicting, not entirely truthful, or uncoordinated. They could even be part of the problem, rather than part of the solution. Some organizations are shocked to discover that the stories they think they’re telling are not what their audiences are hearing. An open and creative storytelling consultation can help your organization align itself, find unique and compelling language to carry your purpose forward, and energize the detailed work required to reach your goals.

    We live by stories, we also live in them. One way or another we are living the stories that are planted in us early or along the way, or we are also living the stories we planted -- knowingly or unknowingly -- in ourselves. We live stories that either give our lives meaning or negate it with meaninglessness. If we change the stories we live by, quite possibly we change our lives."
    Nigerian storyteller Ben Okri

    Meditation in Vancouver the Vancouver Shambhala Centre - How to Meditate, Locate Buddhist Organizations in Canada

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