Everything you always wanted to know about storytelling and leadership but were too afraid to ask

“I didn’t make things worse.”

This is how Sir Martin Narey described his time as Director General of the Prison Service of England and Wales during one of our Leadership Masterclasses. Not what one ordinarily hears from a leader but then Sir Martin is no ordinary leader. He’s an inspiring individual and an accomplished storyteller, and the core narrative he uses to describe this chapter of his leadership story – the last-choice-for-the-job, unheroic, lonely leader failing to make the difference he so passionately aspires to – is compelling but it’s also a fiction. A fiction in the way that all stories purporting to be about reality are fiction. Because creating coherence from the raw mess of lived life involves choosing what to include, what to exclude and what framing will best martial the chaos.

We share what Wavelength observed & learnt on Best in Class 2017

Stepping into other organisations is a powerful way to sharpen focus on your own culture, organisational effectiveness and leadership. Not because the organisations visited on Best In Class are perfect but because they help illuminate what’s strong, precious and worth building on in your own organisation alongside those flaws, deficits and areas of underperformance that must be addressed. Moreover, the visits provide invaluable inspiration and ideas for how to tackle them.

So what of this year’s cohort of BIC organisations?