Last October, I received a call from Shawn Callahan, to see if we could catch up over coffee when he was next in Auckland.
Shawn and I had been colleagues at IBM and he came to New Zealand in 2003 to help with a major client engagement where we used anecdote circles (where people tell their stories about their experiences with a particular organisation or series of events) to help that client better understand the multiple perspectives their stakeholders had.
The narrative techniques were a particularly effective way to engage with a wide range of stakeholders.
Shawn and I had remained in contact over the years after he left IBM to set up Anecdote in 2004, and so when he asked if I would like to become a Partner of Anecdote, to sell and deliver Storytelling for Leaders programmes in New Zealand, it didn’t take too long for me to say “yes”.
I had recently left IBM to set up my own consulting business in the areas of organisation design and change management, and I saw the SFL programme as being very complementary to what I am doing for my clients.
The projects I’ve done for clients in the past 18 months have been quite varied. I’ve helped one organisation in the Distribution sector, which is going through a massive transformation, to develop a change strategy and framework, which they are using to build capability for leaders and HR Business Partners to more effectively deliver change.
I’ve facilitated several organisation design engagements, working with the CEO and their senior management teams, to validate future business strategy, define a new operating model, map accountabilities to the new model, and design a new reporting structure and roles.
The power of this process is that all the key stakeholders are committed to the solution and there is absolute clarity about who does what, when the changes are implemented.
I’ve also helped a Central Government organisation define the future people capabilities it requires, assess its current level of capabilities against the desired future, and come up with strategies to address the gaps that exist.
Since working with Shawn and the Anecdote team, one of the epiphanies I’ve had is that all of these engagements have required, at various levels, leaders to effectively connect with, engage and inspire their key stakeholders. Storytelling For Leaders is a key programme that will help them to do just that.
About Ross Pearce
Ross is a New Zealand-based independent consultant who works with senior executives to develop solutions which help them fully realise their workforce potential. He is a trusted advisor with over 30 years’ experience as both a consultant and practitioner.