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The Power of Storytelling, Dialogue and Whole System Work

How do we ensure our teams are ready for the challenges of change? Communication is the most powerful skill you can hone.
Man working at laptop that reads,
© Ducere Global Business School

Communicating During Times of Change


People tell stories to share wisdom, entertain each other, influence each other and help make sense of the world. Thus, storytelling is a type of sense-making that helps us shape our understanding of a complex world.

There’s a difference between telling a story and an example. A story has a plot, characters, and emotional details, and you can examine both sides of an argument. For example, a manager can tell a story about a proposed change rather than announce the change is coming. Leaders can use storytelling to help their teams make sense of their own past, present, and future and convey how teams are making sense of it.

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Dialogue is different from other forms of communication, such as debates, discussions, or a normal conversation. William Issac (1999) sees dialogue as not merely talking but taking action. At its best, it includes meaning-making and expressing feelings and leading towards power actions. Dialogue is also about thinking together rather than alone. It demands we let go of our own positional views and face and hear about other people’s experiences and realities.

Whole System Work

Whole systems can be brought together to tackle complex issues with multiple stakeholders. These can take the form of carefully designed and facilitator-led large events. Participants are invited to identify issues and create self-managing groups to generate proposals for future work.

© Ducere Global Business School
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Leadership Skills and Change Management in Uncertain Times

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