• Andrew Scott

From Strategy to Leakage

I have been thinking further about the stories we tell in organisations. I blogged recently about my four box model, considering aspects of truthfulness and helpfulness. Since then, I have also been thinking about the spectrum of intentionality: that is to say, why we tell stories.

Spectrum logo

At one end of the spectrum is a strategic intention: that is to say that we choose the stories we tell with care, and in pursuit of strategic ends. At the other end (I think) is leakage: where we did not intend to tell a story at all, but it leaks out from us, involuntarily. And that might even be non-verbally: when our facial expression, for example, responds to something that someone else says in a way that is rather more eloquent than we had intended... And person with whom we are talking reads our interpretation, even though we had sworn to ourselves to keep it private...

And in-between? I think there are a range of positions on the spectrum; from self-promotion to the enjoyment of gossip, and from wanting to build others up, to wanting to put them down.

Of course, there is always the risk that we rationalise and justify our intentions, and deceive ourselves in doing so: after all, my intentions are always pure and virtuous...

So perhaps, from time to time, by way of CPD, it might be a good idea to make the effort to notice the stories we have been telling, and to subject ourselves to a reasonably rigorous examination of conscience, to see what patterns of motivation we can discern - and even what stories about us other people may be constructing, as they observe our behaviour.


The image, of course, is the logo of Spectrum, from Captain Scarlet. If you were my age...