Lucidea’s Lens: Knowledge Management Thought Leaders Part 67 – Shawn Callahan

Stan Garfield

Stan Garfield

April 18, 2024

Shawn Callahan is based in Melbourne, Australia, where his company, Anecdote, applies inspirational story methods to business. He has helped some of the world’s top companies to make their strategies really stick. His specialty is helping analytically-minded executives find and tell the stories that engage the emotions of, and ultimately inspire action from, their employees and customers.

Shawn started out as a geographer and archaeologist before working in the field of information technology with Oracle and IBM. His story-work began in 1999 while at IBM, when he started applying complexity theory to business issues. Story-based approaches to corporate practice were definitely on the fringe, but that was soon to change.

In 2004, when Shawn founded Anecdote, he had one clear aim in mind — to use story-work to bring out the humanity in organizations. He has taught business leaders how to be effective storytellers, and collected powerful organizational stories that prompt employees to work out for themselves what needs to change.

Shawn’s specialties are storytelling, strategic communications, leadership development, and culture change.


Spotting a Business Story

Stories have people doing things, including talking. If you hear someone’s name followed by what they did, or if you hear dialogue, the odds are you’re listening to a story. In fact, dialogue can only be delivered in a story—it’s a real giveaway.

A story is also a promise to share something the audience doesn’t know. To qualify as a story, there must be something in it that’s unanticipated. It doesn’t have to be a great insight, but the listeners should at least raise their eyebrows a little. That’s what makes it story-worthy.

Lastly, to be a business story, a story must have a business point.

Avoiding change management failure using business narrative with Andrew Rixon, and Mark Schenk

The Ultimate Guide to Anecdote Circles: A practical guide to facilitating storytelling and story listening with Andrew Rixon, and Mark Schenk

Crafting Story Questions

Stan Garfield

Stan Garfield

Lucidea presents “Profiles in Knowledge Part Two” the second of four free webinars based on Stan Garfield’s upcoming book, Profiles in Knowledge. He will detail five categories associated with the discipline of knowledge management, including the Big Picture and Intellectual Capital, and spotlight KM practitioners with substantive impact in these areas. Join us on Thursday, May 2, at 11 a.m. Pacific, 2 p.m. Eastern. Register now!

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