Execution begins with diagnosing the current situation. We use the power of stories and their ability to help understand and effectively map safety issues.
What is a story?
A story is a recounting of events by a storyteller where people wonder what is going to happen and then attentively listen to find out. Stories can be lengthy (viz., a Star Wars movie) or a small fragment told by an employee refilling her coffee mug in the kitchen. It might be a first-hand experience or something that was passed on. If it came through “the grapevine”, an element or belief or doubt may be associated. Myths and legends about heroes and villains are stories that shape the safety culture.
Why work with stories instead of traditional interviewing?
- People reveal in stories feelings and opinions that they would/could not reveal if asked direct questions.
- People have stronger reactions to hearing stories.
- Stories are better equipped to describe complex situations than questions are and have a natural tendency to end in a resolution or solution.
- Stories draw people in and engage others due to the uncertainty of the ending.
In concert with Marcus Guest, a brochure entitled Shaping Safety Culture describes how a project using SenseMaker® to gather and analyze stories is executed.