Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Why tell stories?

Stories are important. They provide more than just entertainment - stories are carriers of wisdom. In fact, I believe that story-knowledge is just as valuable as scientific knowledge (though they are addressing different needs).

Howard Gardner's book Leading Minds asserts that stories are important for leaders. Every great leader has a story to tell and is able to embody that story in spite of opposition. These great stories infrom our aspirations as they tell us who we are, where we come from, where we are going, and what we must overcome.

The famous Bible story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17 illustrates this concept. Goliath is a greater threat than King Saul can handle, but David shows up and tells a story about his expereinces of delivery from other predators. David is confident that in the same way that God delivered him from the lion and the bear (allowing David to slay them), "this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them."

IDEA LEADER: What stories are you telling those you lead? Do your actions match the values illustrated by your stories?


Chris M said...


This blog is a good idea.

I believe wholeheartedly that stories play an important role in leadership. They penetrate the soul unlike any other form of communication; they simplify technical or complex matters, thereby making knowledge more accessible to a broader range of people.

Furthermore, as you mentioned, stories can actually be fuel on a leader's fire. I constantly recall times in my past when God helped me to succeed, despite myself and despite the odds. These stories give me confidence to move forward.

God bless. I look forward to reading your paper.

David said...

Dead-on start to a great project.

I'm subscribing to your RSS feed.

Looking forward to #2, and in the meanwhile, thinking of the good stories I've been letting sit idle.