Jane Fonda once said that “everything spirals downward, rots and decays, except the human spirit, which has the capacity to grow and evolve upward.” Creating a culture of meaning and fulfilment at work involves various forms of corporate storytelling. The stories we tell define who we are. Robert Hargrove, a Master Coach and author mentions two types of stories in the workplace that influence the human spirit – river stories and rut stories.
People who tell river stories are authentic, transparent, have no hidden agendas and tend to energize the culture at work for positive change. They speak of possibility and tend to lean towards a transformational future. River stories create meaning, momentum and money at work.
Rut stories are told by people who want to call back the ‘good old days’ when “Bill was CEO” or continually interpret events and change in a negative, de-energizing light. Although there are many types of rut stories, the professional victim is most common. People who repeat a victim story build a watertight case using defensive reasoning about how people or the organization are doing them in. They wallow in their victimhood and are very artful in getting people to support their cause.
When employees are spontaneously telling river stories generated in the mix of employee and customer engagement, they create a culture that contributes towards nurturing the human spirit, finding meaning and profitability at work. Click here for a brief River Story Strategy that will help you as a leader interrupt rut stories and build a culture of engagement.
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