Think of a change that you have experienced, in either your work or personal life. We
would like to ask you to write a story about that experience. Here is a definition of a story
to help you:
A story expresses how and why life changes. It begins with a situation in which life
is relatively in balance: You come to work day after day, week after week, and everything’s fine. You expect it will go on that way. But then there’s an event—in screenwriting, we call it the “inciting incident”—that throws life out of balance. You get a
new job, or the boss dies of a heart attack, or a big customer threatens to leave. The
story goes on to describe how, in an effort to restore balance, the protagonist’s subjective expectations crash into an uncooperative objective reality. A good storyteller
describes what it’s like to deal with these opposing forces, calling on the protagonist
to dig deeper, work with scarce resources, make difficult decisions, take action despite
risks, and ultimately discover the truth. (McKee, 2003, p. 52)
Write down your experience of change in about one page, and then answer these questions:
- What made this experience a “story”?
- What lessons for managing change can you take from your story?
- Compare these with the lessons from the Beth Israel, Sears, and J. C. Penney stories.
Which are the same?
- From your experience, what new lessons have you added, particularly for future
changes in which you might be involved?
- In small groups, share your lessons with colleagues. Which lessons are similar, and
what are the differences among you?
- What three main conclusions can you take from these stories about managing change?