Newsletters

“Stationwagon Trouble”: Stories to Convey Rather Than Convince

By Jean Storlie / August 1, 2014 /

My dad loaded the last pieces of luggage into the back of the station wagon. While spreading sleeping bags on top of the cooler and suitcases, he told my sister and me how “comfy” we would be riding in our “cozy bed.” At first, we thought it was fun, cuddled together, whispering and giggling. But…

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Life on a North Dakota Ranch Shows Us How Farmers Care

By Jean Storlie / July 3, 2014 /

On a cold, snowy night in late March on the North Dakota plains, I was 4 years old, and knew this was a special time of the year on the ranch. As my mom tucked me into bed, I asked, “Where’s Daddy?” Gently settling my covers, she answered, “He’s outside checking on the cattle to…

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What “Say Yes to the Dress” Teaches Us about Creativity

By Jean Storlie / June 2, 2014 /

  When my daughter, Jayme, was 12-years-old, one of her favorite shows was “Say Yes to the Dress.” My first reaction was total dismay that they actually made an entire TV series about shopping for wedding dresses. But once she started recording the episodes on our DVR, I figured rather than dismiss it, I should…

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How Will the Animals Read? Watch Out for Communication Blind Spots

By Jean Storlie / May 1, 2014 /

One day, when my daughter was about 6 years old, my husband was helping her get ready for a Brownie Field Trip to the Humane Society. After signing the Permission Slip, he was ticking through the checklist of gear she needed, including old newspapers for animal bedding. I was upstairs on the landing supervising our…

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Don’t Rake in a Blizzard: Problem Solving through Social Networks

By Jean Storlie / March 3, 2014 /

One afternoon in early January, my daughters wanted to bake cookies and discovered that our cookie sheets were missing from the drawer where we store them. We searched high and low in all the spaces where cookie sheets could possibly fit. We wracked our brains and had many conversations about what could have happened to…

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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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Change is Not a Light Switch: The Grief in New Year’s Resolutions

By Jean Storlie / January 6, 2014 /

Bernie joined the Cardiac Rehab program where I interned in grad school. He was angry and resistant to the lifestyle changes we promoted. I remember him standing in the back of my nutrition class, making jokes and snide remarks under his breath – he was distracting and made me feel uncomfortable. He sent his wife…

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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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