The Power of 'The Story'

Laura has experience with big four consulting organizations; was a managing director at a start-up international technology consulting organization that provided off-shore services; and currently is the owner of LAD Enterprizes, a management and information technology company. She provides project management services and training to assist organizations in realizing their goals through projects.

Practice Areas: Knowledge Management

Teachable moments occur on projects whenever a messy problem occurs or a potential problem might occur. Many times, there is no one right resolution. By involving the team members in the analysis and decision process, a project problem can be resolved or averted. Team members take ownership of the solution and the team strengthens its problem-solving skills.

In a teachable moment, the project manager presents a situation to the team and facilitates a team discussion. The team works together to analyze, identify and solve the problem. A challenge is a team may struggle to see a potential solution because it cannot see the problem. Occasionally it cannot see the problem because members are too close to the project, the so-called problem is a symptom of a problem or the problem is a solution hidden behind the real problem.

One technique a project manager can use is to tell a story. By providing the right level of detail and framing the problem, a project manager can use a story to assist team members reflect, evaluate and map different possibilities and outcomes. However, bringing a story to life and making it engaging can be difficult.

Creating a Story
Some of the most powerful stories are very short--and many project stories will be short. Regardless of length, a successful story needs to contain five elements. To create a successful story:

  1. Paint a …

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