Stories of success - focusing on the positive

A consistent focus on the positive, i.e. directing one’s attention and actions towards the positive, is one of the basic hypotheses of the American organizational developers David Cooperrider and Diana Whitney − also known as the Appreciative Inquiry method. They found that organizations always evolve in the direction towards which they focus their attention and their entire passion. In order to achieve positive change and transformation, it is necessary to highlight the successes and strengths of individuals and teams, thus achieving a positive self-perception and a “strong” external image. How do they do this? By telling stories. This often happens face-to-face in the office kitchen, or maybe also in one or the other team round. However, these stories of success do not usually reach the mass of the organization and therefore cannot develop their full effect and trigger positive changes.

How stories of success have developed from individual “use cases”

Our team from the Social Media Business Program was faced with the challenge of explaining the benefits of our Enterprise Social Network − known internally as you and me or YAM for short. There were several positive use cases. However, these were not directly recognizable as such and did not exist in a consolidated form. Many lists were created in various documents and before each presentation of our you and me platform, the “hunt” and search for these use cases began. It therefore made sense to collect these positive stories and bring them together. Our focus in the team is always to pay full attention to the positive and that’s how we came up with the idea of turning the use cases into “stories of success”.

What is behind the stories of the success on #AndersArbeiten?

Since we do not limit ourselves to YAM in our work, stories of success in this context are short stories from colleagues who show how Anders Arbeiten can succeed. This can range from attitude to new forms of cooperation or the successful use of new tools. It is important that the good stories become more visible and accessible to more people. Stories of success can arise in all areas right across the Group and should provide impulses to rethink one’s own way of working. Every employee has the opportunity to share their story on our Enterprise Social Network. Here there is the possibility to use a template for the story, save it as an image and upload it in a public photo album for everyone to see. Like gold mining, however, these stories must first be “excavated”. In this regard, it proved helpful to address colleagues directly and formulate the story together.

Stories cannot unfold in the kitchen

Stories of success are not much use if they are only told in the office kitchen. We therefore decided to print the first edition as a brochure in A5 format, thereby making the first 10 stories and people visible to as broad an audience as possible. We were able to take these to every meeting and distribute them in the canteen. We continued by printing the stories in large format and held the first vernissage at our Telekom Bar Camp, where the storytellers appeared in person and shared their experiences authentically and with great passion.

The stories of success can be booked with us as vernissage or as a virtual impulse generator in a Webex for team and departmental meetings. They are also available as inspiration for newsletters or we take them to other companies in printed form to talk about #AndersArbeiten. A nice example was our visit to Daimler and the reunion of former colleagues on the posters. This in itself was worthy of another story of success :-).

What stories have we already published?

We began with stories of success for our Enterprise Social Network. For example regarding how easily and clearly you can plan events, how you can get feedback on products with no e-mail ping-pong, how a well-maintained profile can help you to find exciting new projects in YAM and make them visible to everyone or that you can be addressed in German with the informal “DU”. Other stories tell of newly introduced organizational forms such as Holocracy, a voluntary WebEx lesson for and by employees, how employees can do micro guerrilla marketing or how they can discuss in Business Circles instead of hiding behind desks. The latter, by the way, is a story from the new management edition.

My conclusion

One of the key factors in initiating change and changing attitudes is a consistent focus on the positive and the successes achieved.

It is worth finding stories of success, bringing them together and sharing them with a large audience.


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