1st Edition

True Storytelling Seven Principles For An Ethical and Sustainable Change-Management Strategy

By Jens Larsen, David M. Boje, Lena Bruun Copyright 2021
    187 Pages
    by Routledge

    187 Pages
    by Routledge

    True Storytelling is a new method of studying, planning, facilitating, ensuring, implementing and evaluating ethical and sustainable changes in companies, organizations and societies. True Storytelling is both a method with seven principles and a mindset to help managers and researchers to work with change. True Storytelling stresses that we need to balance the resources of the Earth, our wellbeing and the economy when we are dealing with change.

    It is not only a book about how to prevent climate change, it is also a book about how we can navigate through crisis, create less stress and achieve better life in organizations and in society as a whole. You will learn how to create innovative start-ups with a purpose and fund money for sustainable projects and good ideas.

    The book combines practical cases, interviews with managers and CEOs, theory and philosophy to define the method and to teach the Seven True Storytelling Principles:

    1 You yourself must be true and prepare the energy and effort for a sustainable future

    2 True storytelling makes spaces that respect the stories already there

    3 You must create stories with a clear plot, creating direction and helping people prioritize

    4 You must have timing

    5 You must be able to help stories on their way and be open to experiment

    6 You must consider staging, including scenography and artefacts

    7 You must reflect on the stories and how they create value

    This book is a guide to implementing these core principles to boost leadership practices, create a storytelling culture and staff buy-in. The method is also useful as an analytical tool for organizations, managers and consultants in order to prepare, plan and execute the implementation of strategies. It is valuable reading for researchers and students at master level as well as leaders and consultants in charge of ethical and sustainable changes.

    Introduction: What is True Storytelling?

    1. Principle One - You yourself must be true and prepare the energy and effort for a sustainable future

    2. Principle Two - True storytelling, making room by respecting the stories already there

    3. Principle Three - You must create stories with a clear plot creating direction and help people prioritize

    4. Principle Four - You must have timing

    5. Principle Five - You must be able to help stories on their way and be open to experiment

    6. Principle Six - You must consider staging including scenography and artefacts

    7. Principle Seven - Reflecting: You must reflect on the stories and how they create value

    8. Anti Tools for Working with the True Storytelling Principles


    Jens Larsen is a storytelling researcher and the founding partner of the Danish consulting company Old Friends Industries. Jens has written books about ethics and leadership and worked with managers from brands like IKEA, Novo, Microsoft, Mærsk and public organizations and NGOs like Red Cross.

    David M. Boje Ph.D. is a Professor at Aalborg's Business College and Regents Professor and Professor Emeritus at New Mexico State University. He teaches qualitative storytelling science methods at Cabrini University in Philadelphia. He is editor-in-chief of the Business Storytelling Encyclopedia. Boje gives invited keynote presentations on storytelling science, water crises, and the global climate crisis, in Zoom sessions, all around the world.

    Lena Bruun has 24 years of professional experience as a manager, advisor and consultant within the public and private sector; including Roskilde Municipality, The Museum of Rock, Pop and Youth culture Ragnarock and a communication consultancy. Lena is partner in Old Friends Industries.

    "Nearly a century of collective change management experience has gone into producing this powerful guidebook on True Storytelling. Easily understood and explained in down to Earth terms through real examples in active organizations – this is a must read for those seeking a balance between the economics of a productive organization, a sustainable ecological future, and an ethical life." - Dr. Jim Sibel, CFO, Accu-Trade, LLC – US/CA

    "After being introduced to the True Storytelling principles at the certificate program I have embraced it in my entire life both personally and professionally. I set daily goals, I wake up every morning with a firm decision to make each day count. I interact now with people listening to all what they say and the silence in between us that brings so much nurture to every relation and person I encounter." - Anne-Marie Hall, Founder Amazing Hall, Copenhagen, Denmark

    "True storytelling is a great method if you are a leader and working with changes. It has helped me developed my own story as a leader and a private person. A story which support me to make ethical decisions when I am facing challenges and obstacles in work and life." - Mikael Bak, CEO Danish Shareholders organization