Newsletters

Picture Perfect: Overcoming Innovation Pitfalls

By Jean Storlie / February 1, 2014 / 2 Comments

Back in the 70s, my parents received a coupon for a family portrait sitting and decided to herd the seven of us down to Ellickson’s, the local portrait studio. I remember being in college struggling to find something other than jeans to wear. Even though we weren’t given any guidelines, I showed up in a…

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Wallflower or Dancer? Three Common Barriers to Personal Storytelling

By Jean Storlie / December 10, 2013 / 1 Comment

During a networking breakfast, Maggie shared a story that had me transfixed: I vividly imagined her epiphany moment when she sat at her corporate desk in a large technology company at 8:30 one night and realized that she needed to leave her career in Information Technology. While searching internal job postings, she decided to roll…

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Secret Decoder Ring: Solving the Mystery of Social Tribes

By Jean Storlie / November 5, 2013 / 0 Comments

About a year after I joined General Mills in 1999, I was talking to a friend about how I still felt like an outsider. She said, “Jean, that’s because no one gave you the ‘secret decoder ring’ to help you understand the company’s culture.” At the time, I felt like she read my mind and…

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Watermelon Grudge: Your Customer is the Hero of Your Brand Story

By Jean Storlie / October 17, 2013 / 5 Comments

During the time when my mother was juggling life as a 50s housewife and mother of three pre-school kids in La Crosse, Wisconsin, she spotted an ad in the paper for 50¢ watermelons. Since they only had one car, she rushed out one noon hour when my dad was home for lunch to take advantage…

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Truth Wrapped in Story: Beware of the Evil Villain

By Jean Storlie / October 1, 2013 / 3 Comments

Truth, naked and cold, had been turned away from every home in the village. Her nakedness frightened people. When Parable found her she was huddled in a corner, shivering and hungry. Taking pity on her, Parable took her home, dressed Truth in story, warmed her and sent her out again. Clothed in story, Truth knocked…

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From the Inside Out: A Story-bite about Neutralizing Adversaries

By Jean Storlie / September 17, 2013 / 4 Comments

When I was in graduate school, I worked as the Nutrition Coordinator for an Adult Fitness/Cardiac Rehab program associated with the university I attended. It was a fairly new position in the organization without a lot of structure and process in place. Bright-eyed, naïve, and optimistic, I brought forward a lot of new ideas to…

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Are You a Duck or an Eagle?

By Jean Storlie / August 26, 2013 / 2 Comments

Emerging from the airport to stand in the cab line, Harvey was shaking the travel cobwebs from his brain and looked up to see a bright, shiny taxi. The cab driver jumped out and said, “Hi, I’m Wally. While I load your luggage, I invite you to read my mission statement.” Wally handed him a…

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He Who Beats His Horse: A Story-bite to Overcome Resistance

By Jean Storlie / July 31, 2013 / 2 Comments

My colleague, Annette Simmons, shared an insightful story:  A new supervisor, who had been promoted for her track record in delivering outstanding results, was getting resistance from her team for being over-controlling and harsh in her feedback. Her manager was receiving feedback from disgruntled team members — mutiny was brewing. In their next 1:1 update,…

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It’s Like a First Date: A Story-bite that Drives Focus

By Jean Storlie / July 24, 2013 / 2 Comments

In the process of changing to a new budgeting process, my client called a meeting to bring alignment between different factions in preparation for a presentation to the executive team. One team had created a budget proposal, while another team had been challenged to assess the proposed budget against strategic priorities and identify gaps. As…

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Not the Pencil, It’s the Window: A Story-bite that Leads to Deeper Understanding

By Jean Storlie / July 17, 2013 / 0 Comments

In the midst of a chaotic episode of office politics, my boss said to me, “Jean, you need to understand, it’s not the pencil, it’s the window.” As I stood puzzled, she explained the story. Eva and Ron were peers in a company, but Eva had a cubicle with a window. If this wasn’t enough,…

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