innovation

The Key to Engagement is Narrative

doug-hike(Image Credit: Doug Buckley of http://hyperactive.to)

Customer engagement, employee engagement, and supplier engagement are hot topics in quality management. We know that engagement (which is marked by rich interaction and involvement) is different than participation (just showing up; typically in the quality domain we don’t distinguish between active participation and being a spectator). Consumers can either participate or be engaged; prosumers are always engaged.

The key to achieving engagement is to develop a narrative. A hero’s journey with one role specifically less defined, waiting for someone to step into its import, and in doing so – fulfill a slice of their own destiny.

As explained by novelist Justine Musk, engagement (from the perspective of how the concept can be used to become a better blogger) is this:

John Hagel makes the distinction between story and narrative.

1. Stories are finite: they have a beginning, a middle, and an end resolution.
2. Stories center on a protagonist. You are meant to identify with that character.

The inherent message is Listen.

1. Narratives are open-ended. They lack resolution. They are in the very process of unfolding.
2. They invite you to participate and help determine the outcome. It’s up to “you” to shape how this story will end.

The inherent message is Join.

“Narratives motivate actions,” Hagel notes. “In some cases, they motivate life and death choices…Every powerful movement that has impacted our world has been shaped and energized by a potent narrative.”

A narrative pulls the reader into the hero role, and you, as mentor, give her the tools, gifts and knowledge that enable her quest.

Hagel makes the point that narratives happen on personal, institutional and social levels. These narratives nestle inside each other like Russian dolls.

 

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