In a world full of answers you start your journey by asking the right questions
Needless to say it equates great storytelling with great leadership…
Last week one of my client’s invited me to attend a two day exposition by one of the world’s leading Management Consulting and Research conglomerates. The subject? Well let’s just say it was about making it happen.
Content aside, what interested me the most was the language and style of the international consultants.
Every tribe, as Sir James Frazer eloquently observed in his Edwardian Classic “The Golden Bough”, has a priesthood or a medicine man, a tribal oracle to be consulted on important matters. In this regard the modern Techno-Jungles are no different from the wild jungles of Africa.
Business leaders regularly call upon the modern tribal Medicine Men to consult the signs before embarking any new military undertaking (read: new product launch, take-over bid, strategic plan, restructuring).
Nor should this come as a surprise. The medicine man is an essential part of the cultural fabric of any tribe. Even in the modern context. Indeed it is their actions, their language and their symbols that provide us with the deep cultural insights we need to really understand the fundamental fears and goals that drive the tribe.
However it is the tools of language and communication the medicine men choose not to use that help us to understand their role within the tribe. For example; Have you noticed how management consultants don’t tell stories? Some use case studies. But never stories. Storytelling is the most important communication tool we have to influence a mass audience. So why don’t they use stories?
They do not use stories because they are not in business of communicating success or solutions.
They are seasoned purveyors of problems. The bigger the better.
Medicine Men have always needed problems (Big problems) to justify their existence in the tribe. For the Shaman signs are the future, stories are the past. Signs are personal, stories are for everyone. Signs need experts to help in their interpretation. Stories are made to be easily understood. Where is the premium value in that?
Stories tell of great heroes, great victories and great leaders who win by their own endeavours. They are the tales of great triumphs of will over adversity, of golden ages in humanity. Who needs an oracle when you can be motivated to DIY?
It is said great leaders use stories to motivate others to follow and achieve great things. Equally it must be recognised that great medicine men use signs to create fear in the hearts of men.