Building Narrative Organizations

I was 26 years old, and had been working for the company for two years, when Don Gonzalo [Vial, the founder of Agrosuper] told me that I was being put in charge of the new fruit production business,” recounts Jose Guzman. “I replied, ‘What does this mean?’ Don Gonzalo smiled, and said simply, ‘It is up to you.’ From that moment on, I had ownership in creating the vision, and implementing the management for that project. I planted 300 acres of fruit in the first year, and prepared the farm for export activity. That was 1989. Today, Agrosuper has a thriving fruit business.

Jose Guzman
General Manager, Agrosuper, Chile's largest agricultural company

Jose and his team were eager to identify the BIG STORY -

the narrative – of the company, so that they could provide conceptual unity to diverse brands; speak with one voice as they approach investors in preparation for a public offering; and fully engage employees during a time of great transition. We elicited stories from top management and key outsiders, and determined the institutional narrative. We then worked closely with the corporation’s top leadership in applying, strengthening, and sustaining the narrative with supporting stories, such as the one above.

The value of narrative in your organization extends well beyond telling stories in your annual report and newsletters. When an organization embraces narrative and applies it throughout its work, brand identity is clear and appealing; audiences are quickly and sustainably engaged; leaders appreciate and strategically share stories; and knowledge is easily gathered and shared. Your most successful colleagues are recognizing the efficiency and effectiveness of story in three realms of their organization:

Exploration and reflection in one realm informs another. At the center, smart leaders are reaping the benefits of narrative intelligence and fully narrative organizations.

We call our work in assisting smart leaders in recognizing, applying, and sustaining the benefits of story building narrative organizations.

 

Read Thaler’s brief essay on The Benefits of Building a Narrative Organization in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Thaler’s Heart, Head & Hand® program is contributing to the building of narrative organizations throughout the world. Read Heart, Head & Hand: An Advanced Approach to Persuasive Communication.

Sign up for email notification of new communication tools & updates!


Upcoming Events & Appearances

April 12, 2018
Persuasive Speaking & Storytelling, Institute for Research on Women, Rutgers the State University of NJ

March 16, 2018
How to Write an OpEd, Institute for Advanced Study

February 15, 2018
How to Write an OpEd, Institute for Research on Women, Rutgers the State University of NJ

February 6-9, 2018
FRANK conference, FL

Autumn, 2017
Staff Retreat: Communication & Story Exploration, NYC Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention and Tobacco Control

October 27, 2017
Storytelling is Only Half the Story, public program, NYC

September 27-29, 2017
Communications Network Conference

September 13, 2017
Storytelling is Only Half the Story: The Value of Narrative Enquiry, Dublin, Ireland

September 18 & 19, 2017
Oral History Collection, Ireland

August 16, 2017
NationSwell Council round table, Storytelling for Change, NYC

July 25, 2017
What is Story & Why it Matters to You & Your Clients, public affairs firm, Washington, DC

June 22-25, 2017
Images & Voices of Hope Media Summit

June 22 & 23, 2017
Narrative Team Building Retreat, international nonprofit

June 5, 2017
The Welcome Conference

May 22 & 23, 2017
Communicating Meaning: The Crucial Role of a Leader, public program, NYC

Week of April 24, 2017
Oral History Collection, Bermuda

April 12, 2017
Narrative Leadership Program,
global cosmetics company

March 23, 2017
Writing OpEds, Institute for Research on Women

March 1-3 , 2017
FRANK Conference

February 24, 2017
Finding, Developing & Sharing Your Story, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications

February 23, 2017
Why & How True Stories Matter, keynote, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications

February 15, 2017
Montefiore Medical Center ObGYN Advocacy Track

Testimonials

Testimonials
  • "WOW is the first thing that comes to mind. WOW, what a session that was. It was thought-provoking, it was imminently applicable and it was fun, great job." – James Heffernan, The Jedi Group Consultoria, Brazil

  • "Thaler's coaching helped me uncover the stories at the heart of my approach to cooking and hospitality. Working with Thaler helped me with a presentation to American Express customers, and it helps me each time I do interviews and prepare to step outside of the kitchen – including my appearances on Iron Chef America and Top Chef." – April Bloomfield, Executive Chef, The Spotted Pig, The Breslin, and The John Dory

  • "Thanks for helping me become a vivid story sharer. Before I worked with you, I'm afraid I was a rambling geek with a Powerpoint presentation. Now, each time I deliver a keynote, I generate two or three more engagements from audience members. Big, big change thanks to you." – Dave Maney, Founder & Publisher, Economaney

  • “When I was calling around to check Thaler's references, one of her clients told me that she was thinking about asking Thaler to be her child's Godmother. After working with Thaler I realized that the client wasn't joking. It is rare to find a consultant like Thaler, with the right mix of expertise, intuition, centeredness, ethics and passion. As a client, I found Thaler innovative and delivering above and beyond expectations. As a participant, I discovered my storysharing abilities exceeding what I thought was evolutionarily possible.” – Damon Azali-Rojas, Director of Field Programs, Jemmott Rollins Group

  • "As a result of the group training and individual coaching that we receive from Thaler and Jay, Wellspring staff are presenting their work in ways that show more confidence and organization, while letting the passion for our work shine through." – John and Myles Taylor, Wellspring Advisors

  • "I've seen another well-known presenter on story, and he made me curious. But what I walked away from your program with was immediately implementable ways to capture and use story in my work, and to benefit my organization." – Dawn Harbatkin, MD, Executive Director, Lyon-Martin Health Services

  • “Thaler, your program was phenomenal! I was very impressed with the content, your delivery and the practical ideas we can immediately incorporate into our professional lives. You kept the program moving and everyone engaged. Your passion with your work was evident throughout. I heard from another attendee, 'this was the best session I have ever attended at Women Presidents' Organization conferences!' You truly made an impact!" – Paulette Turner, President, Integrated Leadership Concepts

  • "Thanks a million for stretching my thoughts and how I approach today and tomorrow." – Gary Cassard, Vice President & General Manager, Bright House Networks

  • "I'm a storyteller by trade, in a company that lives by story, with a truly amazing story to tell. So, in some ways, we're already there. That said, I was inspired by Thaler's deconstruction of narrative, and pointers for listening and engaging." – Steve Cooper, Director of Product Marketing, Lytro

  • "Jay is the coolest. I love the way he presents. Thaler is smart as a whip. I can't wait to hear what comes out of her mouth next. Together, they are able to break down the components of engagement in a way that we were previously unable to diagnose, let alone approach.” – Vice President, Global Education & Customer Experience, major cosmetics brand

  • "I found several things from your workshop directly applicable to my recent presentation to my board, and all grants were approved, so it was a big success. Our board chair even applauded after my presentation – a first! Thank you so much for your wisdom and guidance." – Denise Joines, Program Officer, Wilburforce Foundation

  • “We couldn’t be more pleased with the results. Thaler Pekar & Partners really 'get it' when it comes to helping move organizations forward in creative and positive directions. They possess a rare combination of flexibility and professionalism." -- John Seager, President, Population Connection

  • "Thaler is a communications genius with an insanely great ability to see 'through' a problem or challenge and create a story-based communications strategy to tackle the issue. She is fun to work with and obviously bright but not ego driven. It has been a privilege to work with her each time we have hired her. What I love most about her is that much of what she does is value-driven." – George Heindrichs, Former President and CEO, Intrado