To Action: Patterns of Success: Stacking The Story

Let’s stay with this idea of micro and macro for a little bit longer. In previous weeks, and in my books, I’ve talked of the power of learning through story. For those that aren’t across the concept yet – here’s the two second summary:

Successful organisations, and successful people, are ones that actively learn. To do this you should not ask “What did we learn?” – as that question is often hard to answer, and inspiration rarely comes to mind when forced. Instead ask a simpler question: “What happened?” and tell the story. You then ask “And what led to that?”. Through the story there tends to emerge common themes, which form your takeaways. Repeatable actions and strategies that worked (and avoidable ones that didn’t).

But here’s my own ‘ah-ha’ moment for the week: those themes – the patterns of success – they are fractal! Not only will you will you find themes for success in each individual or group storyline, but you will find a whole new layer of themes when you ‘stack the stories’.

Take Tolkien’s classic Lord of The Rings for example. (Spoiler Alert) At the individual level, you have Aragorn’s ascension to king and Frodo’s descension to madness. But when you pull back and stack all the the individual stories you find a strong common thread of courage in the face of overwhelming odds.

Again, the micro and the macro.

So in a quiet moment later this month, I suggest finding the time to do two things.

First, create small, shorter plotlines for each of your own successes this year. What happened? – And what led to that?

Then, take those plotlines and ‘stack the stories’ to find those macro themes of your own personal success.

I plan to do the same.