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How storytelling documents the unwritten rules of your culture

David Bator
by David Bator on February 17, 2020

A wise friend once told me that there were three sides to every story - yours, mine and the truth.

As the authors of a new article for Harvard Business Review tell us, there's a lot to be uncovered when we think about the complex story that is a company and all the people in it.

There are our values - and there are the unwritten rules.  No Jerks Please!

There's our corporate identity and employee value proposition - but there's also all the things we are not!

"An anti-identity or an anti-strategy — can be equally useful for communicating with customers, employees, and investors," write Madeleine Rauch and Sarah Stanske.

Their qualitative study of a German company - its founders, leadership, management and employees - revealed some telling things about what the company was and wasn't.

It makes me think about a town hall with a former CEO who asked an employee to reflect on what their value of "Respect" actually meant in practice.

"It means No Jerks!"

Storytelling, narrative and dialogue are essential to understanding all that we are and all that we would like to be.


WSPS Recognition Case Study

David Bator
Written by David Bator

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