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Steering Chaos

In: Storytelling

15 Mar 2010

Transition, Chaos, Change, and Control: navigating that formula is a-little like drinking a lethal cocktail set on fire. To most that maybe a turn off and to a few they see the beauty in the adversity.  Scott Wilson manages to steer one through the chaos continuum in his book “Steering Through Chaos” by using personal experience and drawing on clear examples from others who are dealing with the same hardships.

From my personal experience, “Steering Through Chaos” is not just designed for church leaders, but for any leader dealing with transitional change with their organization. Scott helps culture and apply different practices and principals for maximum impact. Chapter 7, “Celebrating Every Step Of The Way,” really resonated with me because the importance of storytelling.

Out of everything in our world no matter geographically or demographically,  storytelling is at the root of every culture.  Think about it. Who are among the greatest storytellers throughout history?  Whatever the genre the narrator used exposition, description, and narration to illustrate what they considered to be fundamental truths about the human condition.

When you think about it all great organizations, Fortune 500 or not, all have been built on a strong foundation of storytelling.  For organizations stories are the language of success and celebration they bring about serious positive change.  Informative narrative sparks action, transmits values, gets everyone working together, shares knowledge, and sells vision by leading people into the future.  Sounds a lot like most churches try to do week in and week out, but rarely understand it’s power.

So what does storytelling have to do with effectively transitioning an organization?  Well unlike abstraction and analysis, storytelling is inherently collaborative.  Storytelling helps leaders work with other individuals as co-participants, not merely as objects or underlings.  Storytelling helps strengthen leaders’ connectedness with the world. Isn’t this what all leaders need, a connectedness with the people they are seeking to lead?