(Re)Introducing the Strategic Narrative Canvas

In this email, I want to share an updated version of the Strategic Narrative Canvas, the framework I use to help CEOs, Founders, and Business Owners of transformative companies align people and accelerate innovation adoption.

Register here to attend my free-to-attend course this Thursday if you're interested in learning more and testing this tool live with me.

That being said, let's get to the point.

A strategic narrative, visualized.

Here is what the Strategic Narrative Canvas looks like:

Here is a definition of the Strategic Narrative Canvas:

The Strategic Narrative Canvas is a model for developing new strategic narratives and documenting existing ones. It is a visual representation of the system of messages, practices, and norms you should build to mobilize people to take action inside and outside your company.

The four dimensions of the Strategic Narrative Canvas

The four dimensions of the canvas cover the four main disciplines of company growth:

  • Visionary leadership
  • Meaningful marketing
  • Purposeful teaming
  • Authentic selling

Here is a brief definition of each of them. I will develop them during the course.

Visionary Leadership

Narrative power begins with leaders who have a vision, share it, and act to achieve it.

Meaningful Marketing

Narrative power develops when your company's purpose is also your audience's purpose.

Purposeful Teaming

Narrative Power is strong when you or your team defend a different but just perspective.

Authentic Selling

Narrative Power spreads when you build and sell products in true alignment with your customer.

Note: If you've taken my workshop or watched some of my YouTube videos, you may notice that I've changed the names of the four dimensions of the canvas.

I used to name the four dimensions after the four stories that I see successful transformative leaders consistently tell. Those four stories are not going away. I still see the benefit of using them every day.

But I also believe that the narrative of a company can best be described through four broader dimensions that show the logic of how a company intends to mobilize people to develop and adopt transformative products and services. Not just through stories.

A strategic narrative is hard to see

Here is the problem I mean to help you solve with the Strategic Narrative Canvas.

Ironically, words are not enough when shaping business strategy through narratives. Just like a strategy, a business model, or any other creation of the mind, narratives are difficult to visualize.

If you ask people what a strategic narrative is, you'll probably have as many answers as the number of people you ask. Everyone has a different mental model.

As a result, some say it's the vision; some say it's the company's purpose; some say it's the value proposition; and some say it's the history of the company, etc.

If you watch a team talk about the company's strategic narrative, you will quickly notice this:

  • They will use the words story and narrative interchangeably.
  • You will hear them say things like this:

  • But they are confused about what story or narrative they are talking about.
  • Smart people in the same room, using many words but not understanding each other.

This phenomenon is called Blah, Blah, Blah, something well explored by Dan Roam in his books.

So, why use the Strategic Narrative Canvas?

Alignment starts with sharing the same visual language.

Here is how to think about this model:

  • It is a decision-making tool for strategic alignment and innovation adoption.
  • It enables you to sketch out existing strategic narratives or the strategic narrative you want to create.
  • I call this model a "Canvas" because a canvas is what creators use. And I want to encourage you to create your strategic narrative to become a more transformative leader.
  • As you will see, the Strategic Narrative Canvas is, by design, open. Therefore, you can use it as a visual management tool to constantly evolve your narrative by adding new ideas to it.
  • The Strategic Canvas is like a blueprint for implementing a strategy through leadership, marketing, team, and sales.

We need to have a shared visual language that helps us sketch and execute a plan for how we will mobilize people to build and adopt transformative products and services.

When we map out a narrative, the discussion becomes clear. As a result, we increase our level of awareness and our degree of consciousness about our impact.

When I started working on the topic of Strategic Narrative, I wanted to figure out how to reduce the confusion I was observing with my clients when they wanted to use business storytelling to have more impact.

So I designed the Strategic Narrative Canvas to help us understand a company's narrative.

I created the Strategic Narrative Canvas to facilitate conversations and decisions about the direction of a company.

I hope this update helps, and I look forward to hearing your feedback, questions, and comment via email or this Thursday.

The Secret of Not Being a Bore
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