Newsletters

Picture Perfect: Overcoming Innovation Pitfalls

By Jean Storlie / February 1, 2014 /

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 /

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 /

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 /

As a 50s housewife with three pre-school kids in La Crosse, Wisconsin, my mom, Lois, spotted an ad in the paper for 50¢ watermelons. When my dad got home for lunch, she rushed out with their only car to take advantage of this bargain. To her dismay, when she got to the store she found…

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Truth Wrapped in Story: Beware of the Evil Villain

By Jean Storlie / October 1, 2013 /

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 /

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 /

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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Bricks, Walls, Cathedrals: A Story-bite to Lead with Vision

By Jean Storlie / August 14, 2013 /

A man came upon a construction site where three people were working.  He asked the first, “What are you doing?” and the man replied: “I am laying bricks.” He asked the second, “What are you doing?” and the man replied: “I am building a wall.” As he approached the third, he heard him humming a…

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Rocks, Pebbles, Sand: A Story-bite about the Important Things in Life

By Jean Storlie / August 7, 2013 /

A teacher walks into a classroom and sets a glass jar on the table. He silently places 2-inch rocks in the jar until no more can fit. He asks the class if the jar is full and they agree it is. He says, “Really,” and pulls out a pile of small pebbles, adding them to…

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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 /

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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