At the end of Chapter 5, I mention that I draw on many theoretical perspectives in my thinking about the ManyStory Approach. In this post I give a brief overview of some of those I am aware of (I am sure there are others). Each brief paragraph contains a link to a more detailed and specific post on each topic, for those who want more detail.
The Solution Focused Approach is very good at providing a methodology for creating a future story and some of the mechanisms to bring that into being.
Harvard’s approach to Negotiating (negotiating on the merits) touches on the issues of different people having different stories about the same reality, and suggests some useful ways to address them.
Eric Berne’s work on Transactional Analysis has long interested me, and there are resonances in my approach with his understanding of life scripts.
The work on Emotional Intelligence and leadership, by Goleman, Boyatzis and McKee can be read in the light of a ManyStory understanding, as I suggest here.
There are also many books on Stories in organisational life. But most of these talk about the kinds of stories that leaders (or trainers) can tell to ‘get the message across.’ Whilst interesting, that is coming at Story from a different angle from the ManyStory approach.
However, the closest link I have found, and for this I am grateful to Liz Todd at Newcastle University who drew my attention to it, is narrative therapy.
Since writing the book, I have become increasingly interested in Nancy Kline’s work on the Thinking Environment. I am currently exploring how that relates to the ManyStory Approach, and am keen to discuss that with anyone interested in both approaches.
Underpinning all of this is a fundamental orientation in my work which has been there since I first read Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning; and this was strengthened when feedback from clients kept repeating to me that what I did for them was help them to rekindle hope. I believe that there is a deep connection between meaning and hope; and that brings me to my most fundamental source of all: ‘these three remain: faith, hope and love.’ My tentative position at this stage is that working with people on richer and more positive meanings in their lives, and helping them to rediscover hope for the future also enables them better to love themselves and others - with enormously powerful benefits, both at work and beyond.
I have also noticed how frequently theorists and consultants develop three stage models. This may be because of the power of three in rhetoric, or for some other reason. But I think that the three stages of the ManyStory Approach can map quite well onto well onto Kurt Lewin’s unfreeze, change, refreeze, Gerry Egan’s three stages in The Skilled Helper, and William Bridges Endings, Neutral Zone, and New Beginnings.
The point of this blog is to prompt reflection and discussion. So I will be most interested in others’ comments and perspectives, to take my thinking forward.