Sunday, January 10, 2021


The narrative -story-telling is a much more active and engaged approach to shaping the future and gets people actively engaged in shaping their destiny.

The digital transformation is likely to follow a nonlinear pattern as the pervasiveness of information grows and the pace of change increases. In the globalized business environment, very often people of various cultures are in various facets/functions. The success of the digital transformation will depend on the leadership vision, cognitive intelligence, empathy, and competency. The inspirational leaders can drive changes with a set of digital narrative, which is a fundamental building block to a complete understanding of the complex interactions and ecosystem collaboration.

Historical narratives: Every system has a purpose, contemporary companies are the dynamic system which has a purpose and keeps evolving. People who join an organization are often influenced by the nature of the organization's purpose, its mission, historical heritage, or its local culture, etc. The story of the organization is a set of beliefs, values, myths, history, and judgments about the internal workplace and the external environment around them. Historical narratives are a set of stories about why you built the business entity, what’s the purpose, and how you got to this moment. Historical stories are inherited, learned and also subject to revision and creative invention, sometimes, they are contradictory and in tension with each other, but through these stories, the stakeholders (employees, customers, partners, etc) get to know deeper about business philosophy, culture and uniqueness, business management can drive coherent change.

Contemporary business or society is the product of the past. Often, there are all sorts of technical, cultural or emotional ingredients in those historical stories. Looking at history needs to come from a genuine respect for difference and we must see the entire picture for the good and bad reality. Digital leaders are modern-day storytellers who have influencing skills to represent themselves, inspire, persuade and motivate by asking or illustrating: What is the "story-arc" for our organization? Who are we, in the story? Why do we care? What type of narrative conflicts had we confronted before and which lessons do we learn? Etc. Historical narratives helps the management renew their business tradition, advance digital transformation agendas, concepts, and ideas, and unify their people to reach the next level of business maturity.

Futuristic narratives: The management can clarify their vision by telling futuristic narratives and making insightful inquiries: What is our current adventure? What’s our destination? What’re potential pitfalls? Which path should we take to overcome obstacles? What can we do better tomorrow or what do we think are the likely scenarios that could unfold in the future, etc. Futuristic narratives are a set of possible stories about how you will move forward from this moment, reimagine the future of your business, make sure that you break it down into looking at the ideal future first, followed by the real future and then finally the practical one. The goal is to reimagine, architect, design and develop a high mature organization.

There is a process of envisioning and creating preferred futures. Forethoughtful leaders have their visions well crafted with the desired future state or destination. Also make an assessment of the current state, how they interrelate and get a vision. They have to look beyond today, ask open-ended questions and tell futuristic narratives for future orientation. Within the forward-looking stories, there are some parts that you know will occur with reasonable certainty, and some that you feel you can influence, and some that remain beyond your influence, and some that matter, but are unknowable and uncontrollable. Business management should pay dynamic attention to emerging events, and have aligned the organizational structure and capabilities around that vision while remaining soundly anchored in their "core purpose" of being a business.

Everyday narrative: The digital transformation is not an overnight phenomenon but a logical scenario, step-by-step business evolution and daily practices. So digital leaders also make their everyday narrative, they are able to inspire and motivate, help employees, customers and partners gain open perspectives on the growth potential of the business, close perception and collaboration gaps and lead change wisely. Listening, telling, inspiring and influencing are the daily routines of business leaders.

There is deep uncertainty or ambiguity, open communication, information fluidity are the digital new normal. Business leaders understand that the dynamic business development is multifaceted and gain an impartial perspective by exploring the multitude of thought processes; willing to listen to diverse viewpoints, and seeking new knowledge to capture a holistic viewpoint. Their everyday narratives motivate people to achieve more, pay more attention to emerging events, recognize and seize opportunities or risks, identify and close blind spots by looking around the corner and beneath the surface, solve real problems, not just fix symptoms.

Digital businesses are hyper-connected and over-complex, inundated with information, and continually evolve an ever-expanded ecosystem, the narrative -story-telling is a much more active and engaged approach to shaping the future and gets people actively engaged in shaping their destiny. Anyone can find themselves leading effectively if they find themselves in the right place, surrounded by the right people, at the right time and they can educate, support, and celebrate every emotional step of change curves and take a collective digital transformation journey steadfastly.


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