The Power of a Story

Stories are the threads that hold together the fabric of humanity.  In early centuries, stories carried the history and heritage of our early ancestors from one generation to the next. Today, stories enrich our lives, carrying valuable lessons along with them.

At Kipp & Associates, we are ardent believers in the transformative power storytelling – not just for entertainment, but also to catalyze authentic growth and advancement for organizations.

We’ve seen storytelling unlock the potential of companies time and time again, with such diverse clients as NATO, Unilever, The Army Medical Services Corps, Nortel Networks and Alive Hospice.

And here’s the good news:

  • Every organization has a story.
  • Every great story has a hero.
  • Your company might be on the hero’s journey.
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The Hero’s Journey

We’ve always known that storytelling is one of the most effective methods to engage, teach, and increase group participation and trust.  Telling a personal story is one of the few magical moments in which the speaker cannot be judged by an audience.  Furthermore, telling a story is one of the least controlling forms of influence.

  • What if a large group event really amounted to an organization telling its story to itself, “editing” the story to foretell its future?
  • Wouldn’t it be possible to both plan the event and see it unfold as a particular type of story…namely, a hero’s journey?

This archetype can be seen in all great screenwriting, fiction and indeed, in life itself. Just consider Luke Skywalker, the Karate Kid, or Lance Armstrong. The journey always begins with a call to greatness and is answered by the courage to try.  Along the way, the hero is certain to meet helpers, encounter shape-shifters and face daunting odds.  At the final “nadir”, the challenge seems truly insurmountable; it appears that all is lost.

Then suddenly, victory!

And even when the hero dies, as in The Gladiator, he or she achieves a transformation and conveys a new story.

We believe successful large group interventions are much like that.

  • People always resist the call.
  • The journey is always challenging and chaotic…and should be designed as such.
  • People who seem like drags on progress always carry a truth worth knowing.
  • There are always moments when all seems lost.

To the presenter, this seems to be no trite, convenient analogy.  If the engagement is designed so that facilitator group are both operating “on the edge,” the struggle should indeed be “heroic” and the outcome uncertain.

That is, until it results in victory.

So, if you decide that you’d like undertake the hero’s journey, please, contact us to get things started.