Vikki Kirby

With over 30 years’ experience in finding, crafting, and telling business stories, Vikki has helped hundreds of leaders in organisations of all sizes across the world find their strategic narrative and tell compelling stories. Her practice-led MA, Storytelling dissertation is entitled 'Why Storytelling is an Important Tool for Making Sense of Strategic Change in Organisations' and explores opportunities for organisations to connect strategic narrative to stakeholder stories consistently, helping them to focus their purpose and grow. Vikki is a Storytelling Fellow in Digital Storytelling (2023).

Final Project

<Why Storytelling is an Important Tool for Making Sense of Strategic Change in Organisations.>

As humans, we are wired for story (Cron, 2012). Stories help us make meaning from the eleven-million pieces of data that shower us every second. But do we take those innate sensemaking skills to work? This dissertation explores the dynamics of narrative, story, meaning and sensemaking in the organisation context and considers practical approaches to change through storytelling alignment. Specifically, it considers how purposeful connection to a narrative between departments and levels of management can help people make sense of strategic change.

Drawing on an extensive literature review, a field-based case-study with a national retailer was undertaken with input from experts in the fields of organisation and storytelling. Data from interviews was analysed using adapted methods and a ‘StorySense’ Model developed as a contribution to knowledge. The research finds that the cultivation of a listening organisation, where leaders are alert to discovering stories, connected to a narrative which brings strategic ambition to life, would be a sound platform for change interventions at all levels.

Research Question (reflecting the use of primary research – an organisation-based case-study).

Conclusions (represented by the new StorySense model).

On the basis that ‘research is the first step towards intervention and change’ (Czarniawska-Joerges, 1992), there are three actionable conclusions for impactful change: 

  • Leaders should be open to and hone their story-listening capabilities and engage with the stories that exist around their organisation – personal stories and those that connect to strategy.
  • While looking at strategic data, they should focus on what that means for people (within their work and for the customer) and support active communication in ways which make sense for people.
  • Stories beget stories, so people should make connections and share insights to cultivate a temperate narrative ecology (also referred to as a storyworld) ‘in which different narratives can coexist and find room to prosper and to thrive at the same time’ (Gabriel, 2023).

Visionary Thinkers

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