Organisational Fairy Tales

I was recently given a review copy of Andrew Rixon’s new book, Opening Up: Creative Storytelling at Work. Andrew is an expert in applying complexity theory and storytelling within organisations to facilitate consensus and change.

One of the intriguing contributions of this book is Andrew’s idea of organisational fairy tales. By constructing a fairy tale around the issue or problem we wish to describe or address, we can liberate ourselves to talk about the issue in a different and more mythic way. The twist, however, comes when the facilitator asks the audience hearing a fairy tale constructed by a member of the organization to describe what they think the story meant. The interpretations the audience puts on the organizational fairy tales can be quite different to the original meaning intended by the author, and the genre opens up a rich and textured discussion regarding what is going on in the organisation.
Andrew contributes to developing the theme that that we live in a complex world, which story can help us make sense of. In such a complex word, the journey to where we want to get to may be very nonlinear and unpredictable – we have to explore and make sense of ourselves and the world around us on the way. Andrew reminds us that “we don’t change by being who we are not, but rather by becoming (more of) who we really are”.
I also like Andrew’s comment to the effect that “what we focus on becomes our reality.” Andrew illustrates this with a story of two visitors to a small village in a foreign country. The first visitor meets an old man and asks “how are the people in your village?” The old man looks up and asks “how did you find the people in your village”? The traveller looked distraught and replied that his village was full of crime, hostility and violence and were not trustworthy. The old man sadly nodded and answered “I think you’ll find people the same here too.” The second visitor meets the same old man, and asks the same question, to which he gets the same question in reply. However, this traveller beams and answers how friendly, empathic and caring the people were in the his village. Again, the old man looks, up, this time smiles, and says to the traveller “I think you’ll find people the same here too.”
This is a great example of reflexivity, illustrated perfectly through story.
Andrew’s book is quite compact at 90 pages, but there are plenty of insights from Andrew’s rich consulting and facilitation experience and from relevant research literature woven in to the book for the reflective reader to digest.

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Organisational Fairy Tales

I was recently given a review copy of Andrew Rixon’s new book, Opening Up: Creative Storytelling at Work. Andrew is an expert in applying complexity theory and storytelling within organisations to facilitate consensus and change.

One of the intriguing contributions of this book is Andrew’s idea of organisational fairy tales. By constructing a fairy tale around the issue or problem we wish to describe or address, we can liberate ourselves to talk about the issue in a different and more mythic way. The twist, however, comes when the facilitator asks the audience hearing a fairy tale constructed by a member of the organization to describe what they think the story meant. The interpretations the audience puts on the organizational fairy tales can be quite different to the original meaning intended by the author, and the genre opens up a rich and textured discussion regarding what is going on in the organisation.
Andrew contributes to developing the theme that that we live in a complex world, which story can help us make sense of. In such a complex word, the journey to where we want to get to may be very nonlinear and unpredictable – we have to explore and make sense of ourselves and the world around us on the way. Andrew reminds us that “we don’t change by being who we are not, but rather by becoming (more of) who we really are”.
I also like Andrew’s comment to the effect that “what we focus on becomes our reality.” Andrew illustrates this with a story of two visitors to a small village in a foreign country. The first visitor meets an old man and asks “how are the people in your village?” The old man looks up and asks “how did you find the people in your village”? The traveller looked distraught and replied that his village was full of crime, hostility and violence and were not trustworthy. The old man sadly nodded and answered “I think you’ll find people the same here too.” The second visitor meets the same old man, and asks the same question, to which he gets the same question in reply. However, this traveller beams and answers how friendly, empathic and caring the people were in the his village. Again, the old man looks, up, this time smiles, and says to the traveller “I think you’ll find people the same here too.”
This is a great example of reflexivity, illustrated perfectly through story.
Andrew’s book is quite compact at 90 pages, but there are plenty of insights from Andrew’s rich consulting and facilitation experience and from relevant research literature woven in to the book for the reflective reader to digest.

There are no comments yet. Be the first and leave a response!

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Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://www.think-differently.org/2009/10/organisational-fairy-tales/trackback/