I've been doing some fascinating reading of late for reasons that I won't go in to here yet. If you've been staying up all night just wondering what I think about Marshall Ganz's writings then you can rest easy because you're about to know:
Leading Change: Leadership, Organisation, and Social Movements
I have this, what I consider a healthy fear (loathing?) of management books, and an outright disgust for management speak. So when I picked up Leading Change which came branded with HARVARD BUSINESS PRESS on the header I was more than skeptical. What could business ever teach me, anyone, about social movements? A lot, it seems. A lot more than I was willing to give it credit for.
The most pertinent thing from this reading was the emphasis, not even emphasis, that underplays the point; more like the urgency and the need to use personal stories, both as a way to gain credibility for leaders but also as a tool to align people to a cause.
I'm very hesitant to divulge any sort of personal story about me. Use this blog as an example, there's a lot on it, but not much about me as a person. Where I'm from (Dandenong), what I'm like (like Atilla the Honey) , what I find detestable (management speak) , what makes me happy to be alive (peanut butter and jam toasted sandwiches), the kind of company I keep (emphasis on quality over quantity); favourite ice cream (peanut butter); favourite food (peanut butter); there's not a lot of personal narrative. Partly because I'm a grade A introvert, also because I don't think it's important to share much about me because I've never, until now have actually seen the value in it.
I also don't think I'm very interesting at all.
Ganz has really made me rethink my tendency to withhold myself for two main reasons: My loathing in sharing the combined stories that make up 'My Story' make me lose credibility as a change maker or leader; secondly because I run from personal story telling time with other people I'm missing an opportunity to connect to others in a different way.
I usually view personal story telling as exercises in self aggrandisement much better fit for therapy than change making. However, if leaders do not effectively tell their own stories others will. That's an even bigger risk.
I'm not going to suddenly write many tomes about me and my life and why I'm here today, I have to ease in to that I guess but I'll certainly reconsider the importance of personal story telling.
Why David Sometimes Wins- Strategic Capacity in Social Movements
I found this piece of writing a little harder to follow than the one above, maybe it's me. Either way, while I was reading it I couldn't get a poem by Fiona Apple out of my head. The poem When The Pawn... explains perfectly what I got from this reading in a much better way than I ever could: