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I am a storyteller.

I work deep inside teams with operators (first responders, emergency managers, security professionals, etc.) and technology teams (developers, architects, QA, PMs, etc.) to break down barriers that are causing them to fail. By fail I mean they may fail outright or they may not deliver the magic that they had hoped to.

I do this by telling stories – and listening to stories.

Why stories? Well, I’ve been taught that at the root of it we are all storytellers and that we are hard-wired to listen to stories. It comes out of the pre-writing history when we had no other way to share information – about the hunt and the harvest. We learned where to find food and avoid dangers through our fireside tales. Stories saved our lives.

And in my world – stories continue to save lives. Stories improve lives too.

Fireside Tales

The Economist has an excellent (but geeky) article (Fireside Tales) that suggests sitting around a fire may have literally re-wired our brains to listen to stories. I love it.

Stories are how we communicate, not reports and spreadsheets (but pictures of cats help!). This is one of the reasons why my Technology In OPS framework has Stories at the centre of it. They are that critical.

It’s also a reason that I created my recent training video and podcast episode – Stories vs. Requirements.

Think about all of the times that you have had to tell someone something – perhaps a lesson learned, a new problem that came up, or just a funny moment. How did you do it? Not through reports and slides – you told a story.

How did you become an expert in your field? You certainly learned many of your own lessons but you most likely learned from the stories (the fireside tales) ┬áthat others told you so you didn’t have to learn the hard way.

It is hard-wired into us. When we hear a story, we involuntarily become part of that story. Our brain puts us into the story, whether we like it or not. That’s how we learn. Well, it’s one of many ways – but this one is powerful.

If you aren’t telling stories – how are you (not) communicating?

We don’t have to tell them as fireside tales, but then again, anyone that has told stories around a campfire knows how long they stick in your memory.

Leave a comment below if you can share with our audience. My blog and Technology In OPS are all about getting first responders and technology teams working together more effectively. Your input (stories!) help with that!


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