Telling the Story

Telling the Story : The Heart and Soul of Successful Leadership

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How to master the art of narrative leadership Telling the Story shows how leaders affect our understanding of what is possible and desirable through the stories they tell. It opens a door into the world of narrative leadership: what stories are and how they work; when to tell a story and how to tell one well; and how the language and metaphors we use influence our actions and change how we think about the world. * Explains how narrative leadership shapes and defines what's possible on an organizational level * Written by a renowned consultant on the art of narrative leadership * Challenges leaders to consider how narrative can influence and help create the kind of society they envision

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Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 154 x 230 x 28mm | 619.99g
  • John Wiley & Sons Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1118617169
  • 9781118617168
  • 849,833

About Geoff Mead

Geoff Mead is the founder of Narrative Leadership Associates, a consultancy focused on the use of storytelling for sustainable leadership ( As an organizational consultant, keynote speaker and workshop leader, he has taken his work on narrative leadership into the boardrooms of blue chip companies, universities and government departments, for the past two decades. After a successful police career, life took a different turn when he discovered the magic of stories and began to explore their power to liberate the human spirit. Now, he performs traditional stories and runs story-based workshops in the UK and as far afield as Spain, Canada and Japan. His first book Coming Home to Story: Storytelling Beyond Happily Ever After was published in 2011 by Vala ( Pursuing various academic and research interests, he has been awarded an MBA, a postgraduate diploma in Gestalt psychology and a PhD in personal and leadership development, resulting in his appointment as a visiting research fellow at the University of Bath. He has also designed national public service leadership programmes and served on the faculty of the Prime Minister's Top Management Programme. Geoff has four children, five grandchildren and an entirely unreasonable love of Morgan sports cars. He divides his time between his partner's house in the Cotswolds and Lyme Regis, where he lives and writes in sight of the sea.

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Flap copy

"Mead's book makes me feel hopeful and inspired about the future, and my own role in helping to shape it. His grounded, practical wisdom reminds us that stories have always been the way forward for humanity, and it is time for us to take more concerted action to counter the dominating master narrative of our most recent history. You will find his words a balm for the soul, evoking a meaningful walk in the woods with a wise elder." --Doug Paxton, Faculty and Co-Director of the Leadership Center, Saint Mary's College of California "The title of this book says it all, this is a heart-felt and soul-full book taking us on a journey where we can discover ourselves and achieve leadership success. It is only by finding and acknowledging our authentic truth that we can inspire others to follow. If you want to find out what it takes to be an inspiring and successful leader, step into this world of story." --Jacob Tas, Executive Director of Operations, Action for Children "In many spheres of my life, I have learnt that getting the basics right is the platform on which success is built. Geoff's book turns the spotlight on one of the basic activities of leaders and leadership teams - that of storytelling. The book comprehensively covers the theoretical and practical aspects of storytelling. The case studies and associated experiences of other leaders provide rich detail and inspiration. The book is a catalyst for self-improvement which in turn produces better organizational outcomes and a more successful future." --Sir David Varney, Formerly-Chairman O2, CEO BG, Commissioner HMRC "This is surely a 'must read' for anyone in a leadership role (which is pretty much everybody!). Geoff's ability to explain narrative leadership is unsurpassed and his passion for storytelling comes through loud and clear in his writing. Understanding and using narrative has completely transformed my approach to leading an organization and influencing others with great success. "Telling the Story" will inspire you and equip you to use your inherent storytelling ability to influence those around you in a powerful and memorable way. I could not recommend this book more highly!" --Libby Hackett, Chief Executive, University Alliance

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Back cover copy

"Telling the Story" opens a door into the world of narrative leadership, showing how leaders affect our understanding of what is possible and desirable through the stories they tell and embody. This book will help executives, managers and concerned citizens to identify what stories are and how they work; when to tell a story and how to tell one well. It offers a challenge to consider the purposes behind our stories: what are we leading for? It will help practitioners identify their own authentic story and use this to lead convincingly. Using tips, exercises and examples, "Telling the Story" will help leaders build on their own current practices using the vital art of narrative leadership. This book is both practical and thought-provoking, to encourage leaders to consider the big stories of our time and how we can use our own stories to create and take responsibility for the kind of future we want. "Geoff Mead is a master of both the theory and practice of narrative leadership. "Telling the Story" is refreshing in its frankness and insight. It left me feeling challenged, energized and inspired to think about the stories I want to live and tell through my own leadership. Wonderful reading for anyone who wants to enhance their positive impact on the world." --Lindsay Levin, Founder and Managing Partner, Leaders' Quest

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Table of contents

Acknowledgments xiii Foreword xv Introduction: Turning the Page 1 Narrative Leadership 2 Once Upon a Time 4 Why We Need New Stories 5 About This Book 8 Water on the Rock 10 SECTION ONE: FOUNDATIONS 13 Chapter 1: Why Stories Matter 15 Swimming in a Sea of Stories 15 Imagining Ourselves 18 Imagining Each Other 19 Imagining the World 21 Changing the Story 26 Bonus: Life of Pi 27 Summary 28 Chapter 2: Rethinking Leadership 31 Making Common Sense 33 Case Study: The Force Review 38 Conclusions 40 Bonus: Erin Brockovich 42 Summary 43 SECTION TWO: ON STORIES 45 Chapter 3: Stories in Our Bones 47 Logos: The Science of Storytelling 49 Mythos: The Story of Storytelling 53 Bonus: Atanarjuat, The Fast Runner 60 Summary 61 Chapter 4: The World of Stories 63 Fact, Fiction, and Fantasy 63 Finding the Plot 71 Bonus: Big Fish 74 Summary 74 Chapter 5: How Stories Work 77 Information, Argument, and Story 82 Bonus: An Inconvenient Truth 87 Summary 89 SECTION THREE: NARRATIVE LEADERSHIP 91 Chapter 6: The Art of Narrative Leadership 93 Vinoba Bhave 98 Developing Our Capacity to Lead 105 Bonus: Alchemy in Action 109 Summary 110 Chapter 7: Know Thyself 113 The Storied Self 114 Being and Doing 117 Bonus: Groundhog Day 127 Summary 128 Chapter 8: Only Connect 131 Creating Communicative Spaces 132 Listening to the Story 138 Conversation Matters 139 Whose Stories Count? 141 Bonus: Local Hero 144 Summary 145 Chapter 9: Stand for Something 147 Leading Minds 148 What Is Your Story? 152 Bonus: The Man from Hope 161 Summary 162 SECTION FOUR: STORYTELLING 165 Chapter 10: So You Want To Tell a Story 167 What Kinds of Story Work Best? 176 Where Do I Find Stories to Tell? 179 Bonus: Made in Dagenham 181 Summary 181 Chapter 11: A Good Story Well Told 183 Castles in the Air 195 Bonus: The Simple Shapes of Stories 197 Summary 197 Chapter 12: On Your Feet 199 Story Coaching 200 Introducing Stories 205 Holding their Attention 206 Making Sure You Can Be Heard 210 Finding the Right Language 212 Bonus: The King's Speech 214 Summary 214 SECTION FIVE: TIME AND CHANGE 217 Chapter 13: Time and Narrative 219 Learning from the Past: The Told Story 222 Standing in the Present: The Unfolding Story 232 Shaping the Future: The Imagined Story 236 Bonus: The Insider 241 Summary 242 Chapter 14: Storytelling for a Change 245 Don't Think of an Elephant 246 Empires of the Mind 251 Bonus: The Foresters 261 Summary 262 Chapter 15: Life in the Fast Lane 265 Modern, Post-modern, and Hypermodern 266 The Medium and the Message 270 Storytelling in a Global Village 272 Signs of the Times 275 Bonus: Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room 282 Summary 283 SECTION SIX: BETWEEN STORIES 285 Chapter 16: Heart and Soul 287 Missing the Boat 289 Ambit and Ambition 292 Two Countries 296 Narrative Wreckage 299 Welcome to Wonderland 301 Bonus: Beasts of the Southern Wild 304 Summary 304 Appendix: Additional Resources 307 Index 311

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Review quote

"With Mead's experience running a narrative leadership consultancy, the book is an insightful contribution to the field of leadership." (Elite Business, May 2014) "Mead's tips on how to speak clearly and honestly are as good as anything on the market, and this book is as rich and absorbing as the most compelling yarn." (People Management, June 2014) " does a good job of explaining how the language and metaphors that we use through the telling of stories can influence our actions, and change how we and others think about the world." (Talk Business, June 2014) "This book sets out a solid foundation for the role and position of story-telling and weaves it into a modern narrative around leadership explaining how the oft-over-looked human elements of organizational leadership can be sustained through the sense-making of stories." (Developing Leaders, August 2014) " informative and interesting book for leaders and management consultants wanting to expand their horizons to include story and storytelling in their toolkits." (Facts & Fiction, August 2014)

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