The modern-day project environment can be characterised by its fast pace and its ‘shareability’ through tools such as email, social media and Skype. Ironically, however, communication technology rarely has the effect of encouraging people to take time out to reflect.
In his paper, ‘The Art of Story – An Ancient Tool for Modern Projects’, Michael Morrison MAIPM notes: “Too often we communicate electronically, we tabulate, we diarise, we list, we number, we bullet point, however too seldom in the modern world do we engage in face to face informal discussions where we share knowledge, too seldom do we reflect.”
Admittedly Morrison takes a critical view of the standard meeting environment. “We sit bolt upright in uncomfortable chairs around rectangular tables, in dull grey vinyl boardrooms and we recite line by line information in the form of meeting minutes which have been on the agenda for weeks. Are we engaged? Are we actively listening? Do we remember anything when we walk out of the room? Do we take this explicit invaluable knowledge and use it to add value to our work for decades to come? In my experience, I would say ‘no’ and that a large percentage of this knowledge and lessons learnt is lost in translation,” he writes.
‘The Art of Story’ is a case for rediscovering narrative in knowledge management practices for today’s projects, first of all to improve our practice of project management, but also as a stepping stone to building leadership skills. Morrison explores “how we can become more powerful leaders by using story as a way to reflect, share knowledge and get our message across” and concludes that “It is this improved practice of leadership through reflection and storytelling which will improve performance at an individual, project and organisational level.”
Download ‘The Art of Story – An Ancient Tool for Modern Projects‘ by Michael Morrison [PDF]