Randy Sabourin and Cameron O. Anderson
Every civilization uses or has used story telling as a way to communicate social values, skills, and to change or reinforce behaviors. While stories are often the basis of interaction they are also the building blocks of knowledge and the foundation of memory and learning. They connect us to our humanity and link our past, present and future by teaching us to anticipate the possible consequences of our actions. Stories can help us define what is authentic about something or someone. The stories we tell and hear about our companies comprise our corporate cultures.
Two Story Examples
1) The Viking Eric the Red with son ‘Lucky’ the Red was exiled from Norway and founded the first settlement in Greenland around 985 AD. The Norse society thrived, in part due to the climate being in a cycle of warmth. At its peak the Arctic settlement had approximately 5,000 inhabitants who built churches and a cathedral, irrigated fields, adapted farming and livestock for the environment, traded with Europe and sourced building material as far away as Canada. The culture survived for half a millennium. The decline was slow. As the climate cycle changed, the Nordic peoples continued to adapt to their environment, some fled back to Europe and slowly, year after year, the winters grew longer and were harder to survive. Wanting to maintain their European their European style and culture they refused to hunt on land and at sea as the Inuit of the region had for generations. When the settlement was discovered in 1932 it was rumored that they found the last of the populace in the cathedral huddled together and likely starved to death. Continue reading