Here's the new cover for the Second Edition of The Leader's Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative.
It's being published by Jossey-Bass on March 7, 2011.
You can pre-order it here now.
What's new in the new edition?
Read the preface below.
Preface to the 2nd edition
Much has happened in the five years since the first edition of this book provided the basic building blocks of leadership storytelling.
Since the first edition, the importance of storytelling as a leadership tool has become generally accepted, even in big organizations. The days are gone when I would be recruited by a nervous executive to hold a storytelling workshop for a major corporation with a euphemistic label like “strategic change management”. Now executives tell me, “Let’s call it what it is: storytelling!”
This in turn reflects the fact that storytelling has gained recognition as a core competence of leadership. It is now standard practice to include a section on storytelling in books on leadership and change management, such as A Whole New Mind (2006) by Dan Pink, The Leadership Challenge (2008) by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, Made to Stick (2008) by Chip and Dan Heath, and Getting Change Right (2010) by Seth Kahan.
The concept of leadership has itself also evolved. Chapter Twelve of the first edition of this book argued that storytelling was more than simply a communication tool, and implied the emergence of a different kind of leader, someone who engaged in interactive conversations, rather than merely telling people what to do. It suggested that storytelling went beyond the use of individual stories for specific purposes and implied a different way of thinking, speaking and acting in the workplace.
These ideas were further developed in my book, The Secret Language of Leadership: How Leaders Inspire Action Through Narrative (2007), which examined what this different way of thinking, speaking and acting entailed. It explored in more detail how the storytelling tools described in this book could be deployed to meet the specific challenges of leadership. It showed how the leadership communication triad, “get attention >> Stimulate desire for change >> reinforce with reasons” could be used as a template to deal with virtually any leadership challenge. Chapter Two of this Second Edition has been updated to reflect these discoveries.
Since 2005, a massive rethinking of management itself has also gotten under way. In 2009, the The Shift Index quantified with startling clarity the long term decline of management—the rate of return on assets of US firms is now only a quarter of what it was in 1965; the life expectancy of a firm in the Fortune 500 has declined to less than 15 years and heading towards five years unless something changes; executive turnover is accelerating; only one in five workers fully engaged in his or her work. The dysfunctionality of traditional management was further underlined by the discovery by the Kauffman Foundation that established firms in the US created no new net jobs during the period between 1980 and 2005; virtually all net new jobs were created by firms that were 5 years old or less.
The standard practices of management are thus increasingly seen anachronistic. “Tomorrow’s business imperatives,” Gary Hamel wrote in Harvard Business Review in 2009, “lie outside the performance envelope of today’s bureaucracy-infused management practices… Equipping organizations to tackle the future would require a management revolution no less momentous than the one that spawned modern industry.”
Chapter 11 of the first edition of this book began to explore through the lens of disruptive innovation what this management revolution might involve. It argued that leadership storytelling was part of the answer. Since then, I have come to see more clearly what management actions in addition to storytelling are needed to create an organization that promotes continuous innovation on a sustained basis. In effect, storytelling is not just a core competence of leadership: it is also central component of management itself. My new book, The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management: Reinventing the Workplace for the 21st Century (2010) spells this out in more detail and Chapter Eleven of the current book has been updated to reflect these insights.
The current book thus provides the building blocks of storytelling, from which my two subsequent books are constructed. The Secret Language of Leadership (2007) shows how storytelling is a central component of leadership. The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management (2010) shows how storytelling is a core competence of management itself.
The importance of storytelling in branding and marketing has also been reinforced by the explosion of social media. In 2005, when the first edition of this book was published, Facebook and YouTube had only just been created, and Twitter did not exist. Today, these three Web sites have hundreds of millions of participants, who are telling stories about their lives and the products and services that they use. This phenomenon has had a dramatic impact on practices in branding and marketing, as the ongoing shift in power from seller to buyer has dramatically accelerated. Understanding and mastering the elements of interactive storytelling in this sphere has become even more important than before. Chapter Five of the current book has been updated to incorporate the implications of these developments.
Stories are trapdoors, escape hatches, portals through which we can expand our lives and learn about other worlds. They offer guideposts to what is important in life. They generate meaning. They embody our values. They give us the clues from which we can discover what ultimately matters. In the last five years, I have learned much from studying both the power and the limits of storytelling. I am happy to have the opportunity to share those learnings here with you.
 Friedman, T. “Start-Ups, Not Bailouts” New York Times, April 3, 2010 http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/04/opinion/04friedman.html?hp