We are living in a time of extreme change and its corollary — uncertainty. Markets, companies travelers and customers are jittery. What Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman calls the ‘Unknown Unknowns’ accompany our every move. How can you and your company navigate these turbulent and unmapped waters? We’ll answer the question, but first, let’s look at what’s happening today...
- The old world cancelled. Your conference, your offsite, your sales meeting — wiped from the calendar. In storytelling terms, this is classic Hero’s Journey stuff. An ordeal begins when our heroes leave the ordinary world — their status quo — behind.
- A new world revealed. This is what is known in the Hero’s Journey as the extraordinary world. You enter physically and emotionally into a new environment. Your extraordinary world has new rules that govern it. It calls for a new roadmap. You’re confused about almost everything here. Ultimately, your journey through this world will reward you, but right now you have no clue how.
- A new rule: You’re saving money. Someone playing a cost accounting role says, “Great. We are going to save a million dollars this quarter and it’s all going to go to the bottom line.”
- An obstacle: You’re losing money. “Yes,” says your CEO to your cost cutter, “we’re saving a million dollars in travel and sponsorships, and we’re losing three million in retail sales at the same time. For the same reasons.”
- A path forward. Your CEO and CFO agree that only $500K in cost savings will go to the bottom line next quarter, and the other $500K will go into whatever replaces the old world, because those activities are counted as operationally vital, because they are revenue-generating, or for other strategic reasons.
- Wayfinding. New behaviors are called for in this new world, the way Luke Skywalker had to learn how to use a lightsaber. You convene teams in Second Life. You video conference. You webinar. You livestream. You platform. You replace old ways of convening with new.
- A Villain Revealed: Evil Process. When you generate more raw, unindexed and unlabelled data in a day than you used to in a one-week offsite, you confront your dark side. All that data only makes the way forward more difficult and less clear. Your new process has taken off its mask and revealed itself as a villain in your story. You thought you were lost before? Now you’re really lost.
- Heroes and Helpers Revealed. All is not lost. All is never lost. Together, you, as a team, will find a way through this ordeal. Together, you have what it takes. For one of you, it will be an old magic you haven’t called on in years. For another it will be a new skill, heroically delivered at a crucial time. You are like those Chilean Miners who got stuck half a mile underground for 69 days — you redefine who you are as individuals and to one another in order to survive and transform. You all change your game in different ways at different times for different reasons. Alone, none of you have what it takes. Together, you will prevail. Together, you will grow and emerge from your ordeal heroically transformed.
- The Climactic Choices. You have defined Where you are in this new world. You understand Why your journey is important. You are fully aware of What you are confronting. The questions that remain in your story are How? and When? How will you succeed on your quest? And When?
- The How. How you’ll do it is with a set of mechanisms for convening virtually and capturing that data, and a 21 Day Story sprint. A 21 Day Story sprint provides four frames that are absolutely vital for your successful transformation:
Radical Inclusion. Honoring more voices will come naturally to you in the new world. The new modes of convening invite it. The challenge is weaving all those individual stories and perspectives, and the data produced, into a coherent whole. The challenge is harvesting the new opportunities that will come your way as a result of honoring more voices. We will help you do that.
Immediate context. You do not have six months to examine raw data and reach conclusions. You don’t even have one month. It has to come to you pre-contextualized. The only way this can happen is if it comes to you as part of a story you are co-creating in real time. As unbiased data. People speak with a candor online, especially when they can choose to remain anonymous, that you cannot offer in a meeting. Use that to your advantage. Our Ecological Momentary Assessments (EMAs) ensure that the data from a 21 Day Story sprint meets people where they are, creates a safe space for contribution, and honors emotional highs and lows that are natural in times like these.
A People-Centered Process for Problem Solving. When people solve problems collaboratively, they solve them faster, with less tension and a process flow that energizes rather than depletes them. When people take ownership of a solution, it is more likely the solution will be effective. A 21 Day Story sprint is no replacement for in-person conversations. It is an augmentation. In a world where the very nature of public conversations is changing before our eyes, this augmentation is a vital part of your How.
11. When? It’s the only remaining suspense. When will the heroes return to their ordinary worlds with the magic they have acquired on their journey? The answer to When is always Now. Your return begins with the first step of your journey.