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Story as Strategy Workshop

Strategic planning in organizations is often a stressful, time-consuming and technical exercise – done every few years or so, to plan for the next period. One of the problems with this approach is that by the time the strategy has been workshopped, discussed, and written up, there’s a good chance that a lot of it is out of date – particularly in these fast-changing times. Strategic documents can also be overly long – because while the ostensible purpose is to set goals and guide the organization to achieve them, the real purpose is often to persuade or please board members and funders – and so there’s way too much detail. It ends up being a document nobody reads and hardly anyone remembers the details of.


This workshop is a basic introduction to the Strategy as Story approach - a model that looks at strategy as a set of nested stories, which serve to guide the organization through key decision points in a complex and rapidly changing environment. It outlines the various elements of the approach and participants will begin to think about their organizational story as the first step.

Workshop Outline

Introduction: Why Story as Strategy?

  • Taps into a key mode of human thinking (what is a story?)

  • Combines head and heart

  • Enables flexibility and agility in a rapidly changing context

  • Enables you to think about others’ stories as well as your own, and the impact of these.

  • Think about systemic change

Elements of the Story as Strategy approach

  • Set of nested stories

  • Organizational story (and individual stories within that)

  • Story of your audience and your community

  • Story of the system you are trying to change

  • Examples


Self-led Exercise:


Story of you/your organization

  • Who are we?

  • Why do we exist? 

  • What do we do? 

  • Why do we do it? 

  • What is our purpose?

  • What stories do we tell about ourselves and about our work? Are these accurate, or out of date? What is missing? Where are the tensions, what are the countervailing voices?

  • What is others’ story about us and how does that affect our work and purpose?

  • Building alignment 


Time:  90 Minutes (remote)


$1000/group of 10-15 people (from a single organization)

$100/person (individual participants)

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