Mindshift course: Public narrative and storytelling

Crafting a narrative which motivates people to take action is one of the most important aspects of leadership. It’s also one of the most challenging. Year after year great ideas and opportunities fail because the narrative they used failed to connect with their audience.

This workshop will help you develop the skills to build compelling leadership narratives for your work using the art and science of public narrative – a leadership practice used to motivate others to join you in action. It’s a framework for crafting and telling your story developed by Prof. Marshall Ganz of the Harvard Kennedy School.

Stories are the natural way people make sense of the world. They are used to create emotional bonds with others and create shared identity. They help individuals and communities understand what happened in the past and make sense of the present. They allow the reasons why choices were made to be explored and they develop an understanding of motivation, value and emotion. Stories are learning opportunities.

Public narrative is more than just telling stories. It’s about telling stories that matter. Stories that involve the heart. We develop our values through the experiences of our emotions and our emotions tell us what to do. When we are faced with choices we ask ourselves; why should we take action, one way or another? Why do we care? We care because of the values that we hold, so we care because of our emotion.

When communities and organisations are at a crunch point – when they have to make a choice about what to do – people have to be made to care enough to want to do something about it. Good leaders, says Ganz, take the scared feelings which are inhibiting change and turn them into feelings which motivate people into action. They do that through giving hope. That can be done through public narrative.

What will I learn?

We’ll help you develop your narrative skills in a really practical way by asking you to craft a public narrative in which you seek to motivate others to join you in a specific action. It is up to you to decide on this action. The most important thing is it’s something you genuinely feel motivated to achieve. It will be particularly powerful if you focus on an action you want to motivate other Leadership Centre Fellows to take with you. For example:

  • You might want to mobilise your colleagues to join in some kind of ongoing support or action network
  • You might want to mobilise your colleagues to support a work-related initiative you want to take
  • You might want to mobilise your colleagues to help with a challenge in your current role – perhaps by providing you with specific expertise or by taking supportive action in their own organisations.
  • You might want to mobilise your colleagues to take action with you on an issue you feel strongly about outside of work. For the purposes of learning the skill of public narrative the most important thing is you choose an action you genuinely want to motivate others to take with you.

Who’s running it?

Christopher Pietroni is co-director of leading communities and a systems enabler with the Leadership Centre. His work focuses on leadership and change in complex systems with a particular interest in applying and adapting insights from narrative, framing, movement building and adaptive leadership. Working in the UK, US and Europe he divides his time between consulting on organisational change, leading a number of senior executive and graduate development programmes and post-graduate teaching/Exec Ed.

He is a long-time collaborator with Prof Marshall Ganz and in 2016 was a member of Prof Ron Heifetz’s adaptive leadership teaching team at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Christopher is a Senior Associate Fellow at the Institute of Local Government Studies at the University of Birmingham where he runs the Leadership in Public Services module on the MSc in Public Management. In 2016-17 he was a fellow of Practice at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford.

Sounds great, how do I sign up?

You can find out more about upcoming dates by getting in touch with us using the contact form below.

We love to connect, so get in touch today and say hi

Contact Us

Shift @ Enterprise House,
Newton Road,
DE55 5PH

E: hello@shift-together.co.uk