Friday, 29 February 2008

The art of story telling / Career Helium

I hope you enjoyed my story of the chicken and the eagle. I don’t use stories very often, despite my focus on people centred language as I never feel very authentic telling them, although I admire people who can. And I know that done well, story telling can definitely have a great impact.

When I do tell stories, they tend to come from my own personal experience, or real business examples (like normal case studies but with a real emotional edge). And if I do make up a story, I try to make sure it at least has a real business context. This may just be about my level of comfort / skill in story telling, but I generally find these ‘businss stories’ are a lot more effective than stories from myths and legends, and I have to say, about different types of birds too!

A great example of what I mean by this is a career management book published last year called Career Helium. This was written by the head of people and organisation development at ABN AMRO, David Thompson (with whom I met earlier this year).

Career Helium is a great book for any HR practitioners who want to improve their own career progression, or to coach or develop managers and employees to manage their careers more effectively. It describes 'a powerful secret that is known to a select few, an approach to work that provides the fuel to float past the others who are naively pinning their hopes on being talent spotted by the boss'. There are definitely some ideas in here which would have helped me in my own career (and my yet still do).

And the book is also a wonderful example of great business story telling – truly engaging the reader in learning by gaining an emotional connection with the content of the book. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to progress beyond the chicken and eagle type of thing.