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September 02, 2006

Story Spines as Diagnostic Tools

I loved the post on Story Spines for Sensemaking on the Anecdote blog.

I think its a powerful tool for any kind of organizational intervention:

The story spine, as the blog says, follows a pattern like this:

Once upon a time...
But one day...
Because of that...
Until finally...
Ever since then...
And the moral of the story is...(optional)

In one go, this story is able to tell me so much about the situation at hand:

The history
The present
The significant events / game changers
The changes they brought about
The impact of the changes
The learnings

Imagine this - if you were to give this story spine to your managers, and ask them to use it to build a story about HR - what do you think their story would look like? And wouldnt it be as great a mirror of the performance of HR, as any other metric or dashboard?