Posts Tagged ‘David Slocum’

Meaningful Storytelling A Top Responsibility of Leadership

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

An engaging article in “Forbes” online recently featured a discussion by David Slocum, professor at the Berlin School of Creative Leadership. Slocum analyzes the Hollywood version of business stories, as illustrated in the hit movie, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” with stories that exemplify authentic leadership. Slocum’s cogent article contrasts the “simple and dramatic” approach used by moviemakers (and arguably, rightly so if they want to succeed at the box office) versus the qualities that, in fact, are essential elements for effective storytelling in organizations.

Clearly dissecting the main character’s selective editing of his own story, Slocum points out that when Jordan Belfort wrote his book, on which the movie is based, he chose not to focus on how he made a fortune in penny stocks by manipulating the market–a transgresson for which he was convicted of securities fraud and money laundering. Instead, Belfort concentrated on describing the personal excesses of high living and wild partying afforded by the tens of millions he raked in. Likewise, the movie plays up the salacious details of a life run amok.

As Slocum explains, while businesses need to stay true to their mission, they also must adapt to market changes. Accordingly, their”…stories should convey essential truths about the business they describe while still having rough edges and opening out to continuing interaction.” The professor sums up by saying, “Although that doesn’t necessarily work in Hollywood’s scripts and productions, such openness and adaptability in meaningful storytelling about organizations and business activities are among the paramount responsibilities – and most powerful opportunities – of real leadership.”

Do you agree? Tell us what you think about how flexible businesses should be, or need to be, with their storytelling.