Strategic Narrative Consulting & Development
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At a Glance
What we do & why
Our Strategic Narrative Consulting & Development service consists of the following:
Each engagement is unique; we start by getting to grips with where you are as an organisation and tailor our workshop and support services to maximise our impact.
If you have already participated in our Safety Culture Survey & Assessment, great! – we’ll already have a good idea of what you need.
During our consultant-facilitated strategic narrative workshop (typically between 1 and 3 days) participants explore views on authentic current and desired future states.
We then provide some background theory on narrative & safety culture development, including the six critical elements of a good strategic narrative, so the storyboarding of a phased journey can be developed in real time.
The narrative should stimulate people to examine and consider the alignment of what they say & do on a daily basis, and even their beliefs, whilst permitting plans to evolve within a consistent long-term story.
Once developed we support participants in their own personal delivery of the narrative and identify opportunities to reference it in their day-to-day interactions with staff, customers and suppliers. This means the narrative is given every opportunity to be ‘lived’ through words and deeds.
The strategic narrative workshop may be supplemented by the creation of a full communications plan, either as part of the workshop or as a separate event.
We also provide you with an organisational development plan, detailing suggested interventions needed to bridge the gap between current and desired states. There are normally three strands to this:
- Systems (e.g. appraisal, incident reporting, recruitment process)
- Individual development (e.g. leadership training, safety champion training)
- Improvement programmes
Why? A strong strategic narrative is one of the four strands of employee engagement that the UK government supported think tank, Engage for Success, identified as essential for staff engagement. In turn, we know that the level of employee engagement is a key predictor of both low incident rates and high productivity.
In the RyderMarsh OCAID model of engagement above, Strategic Narrative weaves together the other three essential strands of employee engagement (Caring Managers, Esteemed Employees and Organisational Integrity). The function of a strategic narrative is to create a context for change, linking together and making sense of multiple initiatives.
Who is our Strategic Narrative Consulting for?
Our strategic narrative consulting is suitable for any organisation that is grappling with:
- Ambiguity of purpose amongst leaders and employees
- Misalignment of the organisation’s objectives with what people say and do on a daily basis.
- Lack of engagement
- Disconnected stakeholders
As organisational development people, we approach strategic narrative development from a wider perspective than some. We’re happy to work with organisations that have previously attempted the creation of a strategic narrative and struggled to make it ‘stick’.
What’s in it for you?
An authentic, empowering and compelling strategic narrative will kindle a passion in your employees’ hearts. They’ll have a clear vision of why they’re doing what they’re doing and how this is contributing to the organisation’s future – and their own.
It is pertinent to the organisation because it will support the business in better decision making, increased productivity, reduced injury rates, enhanced leadership and improved employee engagement.
Strategic Narrative Consulting & Development: Deliverables
Each engagement is tailored to the individual organisation and will include the following:
- Strategic narrative workshop, typically between 1-3 days (can be non-consecutive days). The objective of the workshop is:
- The agreement of a draft strategic narrative that has been developed collectively by workshop participants.
- Optionally, the production of a full communications plan detailing how your narrative will be communicated and ‘lived’.
- Post-workshop support in finalising your strategic narrative
- An organisational development plan, detailing suggested interventions needed to bridge the gap between you identified current and desired states.
Frequently Asked Questions
We know from neuroscience that our brains are prediction machines; although they like a little bit of novelty, they are more comfortable when they have a sense of what to expect. Organisations that have a clear story, and that have spent time communicating this narrative, have more engaged employees. This is because having a clear story about where the organisation is headed enables our brains to predict.
Neuroscience also supports the need for a clear line of sight between us and the purpose of the company. Not only does line of sight give us clarity, it also provides a sense of being valued and of status because our work matters and makes a difference. Feeling valued puts our brains into a positive mindset.
In the development and the delivery of a strategic narrative, there is strength in people seeing leadership unity. Once developed and communicated, the narrative will both bring people together in common cause whilst also giving people their own personal connection.
No! Ownership is really important when it comes to your strategic narrative. That’s why we deliver a strategic narrative workshop, rather than a strategic narrative writing service. You and your people know your business, and are best placed to – with support – create your journey going forwards.
This depends somewhat on your organisation and the maturity of your safety culture. Whilst we can run a workshop exclusively with your Senior Leadership Team, it can be hugely beneficial to take a diagonal cross section through the organisation. It’ll make nailing your ‘authentic current state’ easier and the involvement of employees from all levels of the organisation means the narrative can be ‘socialised’ as well as ‘sold’.
Yes! We recognise that getting senior leaders in a room together for a whole day or more can be challenging and we are happy to break the workshop down into smaller modules where needed.
Holding the workshop over full consecutive days undoubtedly brings momentum to the project, but on the flip side, a more modular approach does allow room for reflection in between sessions.