Story Spines Can Inspire Change

Once Upon a Time, You Created Change…

Storytelling has long been a vehicle for creating a journey of the imagination, a journey in which a transformation happens. In his March 2012 Fast Company article, “Using Great Storytelling To Grow Your Business,” Kaihan Krippendorff writes about how to use effective storytelling to drive change and growth in an organization. He references a tool called a Story Spine, which is a simple bunch of sentence stems that provide the skeleton for building a story. The Story Spine is a tool developed by Kenn Adams as a way for improvisers (actors who work without a script) to build a classic story.

The basic Story Spine structure

Once there was…
And every day…
Until one day…
And because of that…
And because of that…
And because of that…
Until finally…
And so…

Optional ending line: The moral of the story is…

Sound familiar? Many fairy tales and children’s stories, as well as novels and movies,  fit in this story structure. Elegant & easy! So, what if we could use story spines to map out a vision for changing ourselves? Simple genius! Here’s a great Harvard Business Review article that guides us on using Story Spines to craft a vision for changing our own circumstances: http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/07/a_simple_exercise_to_help_you.html.

Bonus Freebie

There are hundreds of possible Story Spine variations, and here’s one:

  • [The balance]: Once upon a time … and every day …
  • [The un-balance]: But then one day …
  • [The quest for a resolution]: … and because of that … and so … until finally ….
  • [The new balance]: … and ever since that day ….

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Your Turn

Now, how will you use a Story Spine to create change in your own life? Share your thoughts in a comment here!

5-minute Contest: Mentorship and Onboarding

Mentor Me…

Here’s an easy contest to win!

In his article, “Mentoring and On-Boarding: Two Peas in a Pod,” Talent Management’s Frank Kalman makes a compelling case for mentorship as a game-changing onboarding tool. I’m going to take a leap by extending Kalman’s theory, and say that I believe that you (yes, you, dear reader) are an expert in onboarding mentorship. Curious? Read on…

 

You Are an Onboarding Expert

Since you’re reading this post, I’m guessing you’re interested in the topics of mentoring and onboarding (either that, or you’re my mom, who reads all my posts – because that’s what mentors do – invest in their peeps). No doubt you’ve been “onboarded” in an organization before – be it your workplace, your place of worship, or your neighborhood association. And I’m betting that somebody helped you with the ropes when you joined that organization. That mentee experience in itself gives you a certain amount of mentoring mavenship. You know what good (or not good) mentorship feels like.

Let’s now transform this expertise of yours into a reward. It’s time to get you published in the blogosphere!

Contest Guidelines

Take five minutes to participate in this Mini-Mentoring Contest and you could win a featured “Guest Author” spot on the Leadership and Learning Innovation site.  Here’s how:

  1. Take a quick read of Kalman’s brief article, Mentoring and On-Boarding: Two Peas in a Pod.
  2. Answer one or more of the following questions:
    • What role has mentorship played in your own onboarding experiences?
    • What kind of mentorship did/do you provide in helping others to onboard?
    • How can you “pay it forward” for future members of your organization?
  3. Submit your ideas/stories here.
  4. Submission Deadline: Tuesday, July 24th

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Winning Entries

Compelling mini-stories, theories of mentorship, or even 3-word mantras on the secrets of onboarding mentorship will be considered for publication in the next Leadership & Learning Innovation article in this series, “There’s No Ship Like Mentorship.”

How do I save my video to my computer?

Here’s a Monday freebie for you…

A freeware program called KeepVid lets you save YouTube videos and other movie files to your computer.

 

 

 

 

 

Three easy steps to downloading videos:

1. Copy the URL of the video you want to download, then head to www.KeepVid.com, and paste it in the bar at the top.

2. Click “Download” to the right of that bar. Do not click the large green “Download” button.

 3. It will load for a few seconds, then you’ll have the option to download the video in FLV (Flash), MP4, or WebM format. If you don’t know which one to pick, go with MP4, as it has the greatest compatibility.

Here’s a nice tutorial on how to use KeepVid: http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-57405342-285/how-to-download-videos-from-youtube-vimeo-and-more/

Of course, be sure to have the appropriate permissions when saving videos.

Using technobabble to sound cool

Jargonicious! A plea for simplicity…

The ingenious (and totally fictitious) “Turbo Encabulator” video has long been used to warn against the use of technobabble. It has a fascinating history, which includes this Oscar-worthy 1977 performance by Bud Haggart:

 

What’s the lesson?

Avoid confusing jargon in your presentations.

Be conscious of your audience and sensitive to their familiarity with the terms that you use. We should use jargon, acronyms and other technical terms only if we are sure that our audience will understand them. If there is the slightest chance that they won’t understand, then simplify your language. Remember, if they can’t understand your message, they can’t adopt it.

I know what you’re thinking…

“But, Susan, big words make me sound more interesting and credible!”

Actually, the opposite is often true. The more clearly and simply you can deliver your message, the more likely people are to follow your ideas (intentional double entendre).

I would write more, but I’ve gotta go for now, as my flux capacitor needs recharging.

Your turn

Where have you seen (or even used) technobabble?

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Thanks to my colleague, Dave Ilconich, for reminding me of this classic video. 

Are you in tune with introverts?

Why you should tune in to the introverts in your world…

Being social and outgoing are prized above all else in our culture. So, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. In this compelling and passionate talk, author Susan Cain argues that introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.

Now, think of someone on your team or in your world who’s an introvert and tell me, how can you encourage and celebrate them more?