This week I got one of my favorite compliments. We were working to take a series of events and shape it into a coherent narrative to explain what had happened, why we could be confident of the results, and how we had improved over time. And one of my co-workers had commented on how much they were learning from this process, and another responded that of course I was good at this because I was a gamer. And I was just tickled pink.
I make no secret of my hobby. My Twitter feed, for example, is one part geek, one part quality, one part politics. Search for me in google (and who doesn’t google search their coworkers?) and you’ll see gaming stuff on the front page. And in this day of working from home, my background is a bookshelf crammed full of games.
And I do think I am, to a large amount, the quality professional I am today because of that gaming background. There are many paths within quality, and this is part of mine.
Some of the things I’ve learned as a gamer include:
The ability to “think on your feet”
Knowledge of rules and how they work together in a system.
How to use visual aids, pictures et all
Paying attention to everyone, giving everyone a chance to be heroic
Conflict resolution skills
Which as a list definitely feels like the core of the profession.
So, fellow gamers in quality, next time we actually meet face-to-face at a conference, let’s find a little time to meet each other at the table.
Join the ASQ Team and Workplace Excellence Forum on Tuesday, June 15 at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, for ASQ Storytime, a fun story share where you are invited to share your stories as a quality professional. Stories may either be free-style or in PechaKucha style on the themes of “Driving out Fear” or “Quality Life After the Pandemic.”
Norm tells an engaging story where he shares a formative experience on the value of driving out fear. He then explains that we as managers grew up in these cultures and it requires work to build a new culture.
He hits on a great note, managers are part of the cultures they grew up in. We are like trees with many rings, and it can be very difficult just to change that.
As leaders a big part of our work is ensuring the know-why – fostering and sharing an understanding of work culture and values. This is a continuing, long-term co-creative process that does not happen overnight. An important part of this work is shaping and sharing stories, using the past as a shaper of the future to give meaning to events. As stories are told in the present, they become a partner in shaping the future.
To successfully change, it is important to understand the past as well as dream for the future. Storytelling as a method and tool has real power to foster dialogue, reveal culture and create a shared vision:
Storytelling makes complex situations and phenomena accessible and provides details that can be used to build action plans for change and improvement.
Stories reveal values and principles embedded in a culture that are often hidden from the naked eye.
Stories make visible driving forces for change that are not revealed when direct questions are asked.
Stories provides a platform for understanding different perspectives. It breaks down barriers and builds bridges of trust.
Stories highlight turning points that can be used to facilitate innovation and change.
Through storytelling and dialog, we strengthen structure, identity and culture. It is how we tell our story.
This book does an amazing job of giving you the tools of transforming a boring management review into a compelling narrative. Following the step-by-step recommendations will give you a blueprint for effective telling the story of your organizations quality maturity and help you execute into action.
For example, this table is the start of an amazing section about crafting a narrative that then goes into an amazing discussion on structuring a slide presentation to get this done.
Argumentative Writing (Logical Approach)
Persuasive Writing (Emotional Appeal)
Writing a Recommendation (Blend of Both)
Construct compelling evidence that your viewpoint is backed by the truth and is factual
Persuade the audience to agree with your perspective and take action on your viewpoint
Use the data available, plus intuition, to form a point of view that requires action from your organization
Deliver information from both sides of the issue by choosing one side as valid and causing others to doubt the counterclaim
Deliver information and opinions on only one side of the issue, and develop a strong connection with a target audience
Develop a story supported by evidence ad also include any counterarguments your audience may have, so tat they feel you have considered their perspective
Use logical appears to support claims with solid examples, expert opinions, data, and facts. The goal is to be right, not necessarily take action
Use emotional appeals to convince others of your opinion and feelings, so the audience will move forward on your perspective
Structure the appeal as a story, support your recommendation with data and solid evidence that sticks by adding meaning
Professional, tactful, logical
Personal, passionate, emotional
Appropriate tone based on the audience
Another great takeaway is when Nancy presents results of her extensive analysis on word patterns in speeches, right down to the choice of effective verbs, conjunctions, adjectives, adverbs, interjections, and rhetorical questions. The choice of “process or performance verbs” is connected to whether the recommended course of action is continuity, change or termination.
This is a book that keeps giving.
I found it so invaluable that I bought a copy for everyone on my team.