Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Stories are very, very powerful - maybe too powerful?

I am reminded of the phrase: Never let the truth get in the way of a good story?

Reading Michael Lewis' The Undoing Project, there are some great lessons for all professionals, management and leadership.  The examination of perception versus reality and the bias of personal experience over worldly fact is unnerving.

Too many decisions are based on flawed thinking, influenced by emotional circumstances with more effort spend on excuses (stories?) rather than pursuit of the truth. If something appears true-enough then people look no further.

Plausible stories (fake news?) undermines projects and change, management and leadership which are based on combination of Trust and Truth.

Key points

People predict by making up stories
People predict very little and explain everything
People live under uncertainty whether they like it or not
People accept any explanation as long as it fits the facts

The problem appears to be that stories based on feelings and scenarios are emotionally engaging and gather followers whereas facts demand too much effort. In the pursuit of eQ have we sacrificed iQ?

Stories deliver power to orators.

Rhetoric, or the art of persuasion, is an ancient topic that's no less relevant today. We are in a golden age of information sharing, which means you are swimming in a pool of rhetoric every day, whether you realise it or not. 

Hitler understood the power of words: He saw them as a tool which he needed to master if he wanted to achieve his goals. He had a strong vision which he believed in passionately and he knew that he needed his people to share that passion if he was to succeed.



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