Hampshire Hospitals Seeing the Story of Change

Beginning

The Trust was about to embark on a change, which could be perceived negatively, overshadowing the actual benefits and improvements that would take place. In order to help the team, who were responsible for the change, to communicate it we suggested a practical workshop using storytelling techniques to explore what the change would be like for different individuals or groups.

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30 participants (drawn from staff, patient groups and unions) worked in small groups to create a story that described the change as it interacted with others. They focused on particular audiences and how they inform what needs to be communicated or what story is most useful to tell them. Having created the story, one person from each table told the rest of the room the story of the change. Each story had a different protagonist and an intended audience, which shaped each story of the change in a different way. We concluded with feedback on everything we had heard; picking and choosing elements from each story, identifying common narratives that everyone could use, finding themes, arguments or angles that had greatest impact and identifying ideas, problems and solutions that had not yet been considered.

End

The workshop helped those involved in the change to find some clarity in what had become a very complicated and lengthy process. Exploring the change as a story reconnected the participants with the day to day and long term impact and benefits it would have on individuals (staff and patients) and the hospital as a whole. The participants felt more confident about approaching the audiences and groups that they would need to communicate the change to and had a selection of narratives that could be chosen from as needed. After this first workshop, to find the story of the change, theWholeStory’s voice coach Ben Joiner developed the teams communication skills further, to help each individual feel more confident and be more successful in how they used their voice and body to tell the story of the change.

“Your session was really enjoyable, informative and helpful and the whole team have gained something from it. It was a pleasure to work with you”

Chief Nurse/Chief Operating Officer, Deputy Chief Executive, Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust

 

 

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CSLE Collaborative Story

Beginning

The Cross Sector Leadership Exchange brings together strategic partners across the public and third sector to provide an environment that facilitates the development of their leaders. To close their regular Leading Without Boundaries 3-day intensive course, they needed a collaborative workshop that allowed groups of participants to tackle the difficult issues raised and to understand how to address them. These ideas and solutions then had to communicated back to their respective organisations, winning over both hearts and minds for the challenges ahead. A CSLE board member attended one of our open workshops and recommended us for the 2016-2017 programme.

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Over our full day workshop, participants were challenged to work in teams to see how their different organisations could work together to solve complex problems from the course. This involved negotiation, listening and collaboration, all within a very tight timeframe. They were then split up to pull apart their thoughts individually and by pairing up with members of other teams before regrouping in their teams to reach an agreed final story that could be presented back to the room.

End

Each cohort, who has taken part in our Collaborative Story workshop, found that the humanising aspect of storytelling, allowed their solutions to be tangible and actionable, both in their own eyes and in that of their audiences. By considering the many different perspectives of individuals and organisations involved, unexpected insights were revealed which helped them tell their story engagingly and with awareness for the ramifications of each solution.

“The step-by-step tools were simple to understand and provided obvious benefit, even if used in isolation. The technique of using story-telling, particularly telling the story from another’s perspective, was very powerful and has stuck with me.

Josh kept a good control over the proceedings, moving things forward when necessary and maintaining the energy in the room through enthusiasm and building on suggestions. The session didn’t drag because it was interesting, light-hearted and memorable.”

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Balfour Beatty Rail The Strategy Story

Beginning

Balfour Beatty Rail had a new strategy that needed to be communicated to all levels, from senior managers to the workforce on the railway lines. The strategy existed as highly detailed information and as a visual overview to introduce each element of the strategy. What was missing was a way to share, explain and present the strategy that was specific and relevant to each audience without it being either over generalised or irrelevantly detailed.

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TheWholeStory spent a day with 50 senior managers. During the morning they explored the strategy in relation to each of their functions, digesting the detailed information to identify what areas of the strategy they could implement. In the afternoon, in a 2-hour workshop, we facilitated how the senior managers could each communicate the strategy to specific audiences in a variety of environments. We focused on the participants finding real examples to demonstrate the rational, process and benefits that would mean something to the different audiences

End

From the process of the workshop the senior managers gained a greater insight into the strategy, expanded their understanding and could give an authentic and adaptable expression of it. Throughout they were encouraged to become comfortable in “being themselves”, to build an authentic rapport with their partners in the workshop and ultimately with clients, employees and colleagues. By using the framework of a story the managers had a simple and adaptable method to organise and access the contents of the strategy so it could be delivered in an effective yet spontaneous manner as and when required, to suit the occasion or audience

“Things are going very well with the managers after your workshop. The follow up 10 top tips were really well received and helpful.”

Internal Communications Manager

 

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EDF Energy/Q5 Past Achievement and Future Priorities

Beginning

The consultancy Q5 were working with EDF Energy to plan and deliver how a diverse group of departments would work together on the next year’s aims and objectives: Priorities. TheWholeStory were asked to facilitate some practical activities as part of their Away Day to ensure the next year’s Priorities would be understood fully – in terms of their need or rationale and in how they could be applied

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Before looking forwards, participants to the Away Day were asked to write a short story to celebrate and reflect on their achievements from the previous year, a time of considerable change for the business. The contributed stories, which gave personal perspectives on organisational successes and individual achievements, were available to read throughout the Away Day on a Story Wall. Before the participants looked at specific action plans within their functions Directors, in 5 mixed groups, were taken through a process to build a future-story about 1 Priority and how it would affect or involve 1 protagonist over a year.

End

By acknowledging the achievements made already in the past year the Story Wall succeeded in creating a mood of celebration and shared enthusiasm to achieve more and identified specific behaviour, ideas and actions that could be emphasized and continued into the year ahead. The future-story creation allowed the groups to collaboratively explore what could happen, how, why and to whom, and see within the focusing and engaging elements of a story, the Priorities in specific, achievable and tangible terms. Groups looked at a Priority that they might not have previously considered pertinent to them and yet were able to provide and learn useful insights. The lessons of the story, and the perspective the exercise gave, fed directly into the team’s action plans and the ways in which they would communicate and implement the Priorities.

Phoenix Community Housing Our Future Success Stories.

Beginning

Phoenix Community Housing has residents as shareholding members and who play a central role in decision making. Having overcome a challenging time Phoenix had a lot to celebrate and wanted to continue to build on those successes with their strategy for the next 5 years. As part of their Staff Day they wanted to involve staff in exploring what Phoenix’s strategy could be. We designed a workshop, to fit within the rest of the afternoon’s activities, which employed some easily applied techniques of storytelling. Staff would learn more about each other and the benefits of what they do; to identify what could happen next to make Phoenix even more special and what its successes could be in 5-year’s time.

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Despite the challenges of a small space we involved a much larger number of participants than expected in creating Future Success Stories for Phoenix Community Housing. Each group was hosted by a Phoenix staff member who had been trained to co-facilitate with us. The groups were set a strategy theme each and using a series of questions to prompt ideas the groups identified what they together felt was important to either improve or change. Within that theme and given their joint expertise what could they imagine being responsible for over 5 years. Using a narrative structure to build the detail of how their success story unfolded they also added in descriptions to create characters that made the story more real and applicable. Each group shared their story to another group and their stories were recorded and transcribed.

End

Each cohort, who has taken part in our Collaborative Story workshop, found that the humanising aspect of storytelling, allowed their solutions to be tangible and actionable, both in their own eyes and in that of their audiences. By considering the many different perspectives of individuals and organisations involved, unexpected insights were revealed which helped them tell their story engagingly and with awareness for the ramifications of each solution.

“A big thank you to Josh and Lily for a great event and for pulling it together so quickly and giving us the skills to be able to craft and tell our future story. We are pulling together the stories created on the day, into a storybook to launch our innovation related staff schemes.”

Director of People Services and Communications, Phoenix Community Housing

 

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