Narrative Intelligence in Organisations

Stories are a fundamental part of our cultural and social lives, and this is no less so for organisations, as narratives are the primary means by which we negotiate identity, personal and professional, individual and collective. They are a vital currency, because stories make an “us” out of  “it”.

The Cultural Web Model:

The Cultural Web, which identifies cultural components of any given organisation (and thereby its implicit and explicit assumptions) specifically recognises stories as fundamental, indeed every bit as important as “Control Systems” and “Power Structures”, yet the role of narratives is too often over-looked and under-estimated.

Narratives impact on:

  • How we act;
  • How we think we should act;
  • How we predict the outcomes of our actions;
  • How we engage with and contest the past actions of self and others;
  • How we understand our position within the collective.

An understanding and appreciation of the diverse stories that underpin a team and organisation is essential to healthy leadership, because:

  • Stories are natural and essential to a healthy organisation.
  • Narration and reinvention is a constant process.
  • Storytelling is tenacious and persistent.
  • Stories are by nature ambiguous, open and participatory.

What is Narrative Intelligence?

  • The capacity to be aware of the fundamental role of stories in organisations;
  • The capacity to identify and appreciate a plurality of stories within an organisation;
  • The capacity to engage with these stories respectfully and positively;
  • A recognition of the importance of listening to a healthy culture.

Over the last decade Nick has developed and pioneered workshops for leaders and teams that aim to cultivate Narrative Intelligence, identifying persistent stories, developing new ones, helping people lead and be lead within a coherent, healthy group culture.

If you are interested in further information check out the twitter feed below, or please get in touch directly.


“The stories we tell and the stories we ‘need to tell’ are crucial considerations for leaders in complex organisations experiencing change.  In various ways these stories say something about our purpose and also something about our identity, and linking ‘who we are with what we are here for’ is a critical aspect of engaging hearts and minds with the need for change.  Nick Hennessey’s studied craft is storytelling.  He is a great performer steeped in the skills of story and narrative, and he can also uniquely relate the power of narrative to the cultural and behavioural aspects of organisational life.  The sessions he runs move narrative intelligence from an interesting notion to a key leadership challenge and capability.”

Doug Parkin, Programme Director, Leadership Foundation for Higher Education.


Twitter feed is not available at the moment.