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Using stories for advantage: the art and process of narrative

Doug Randall (Managing Partner at the consulting firm Monitor 360 (drandall@monitor‐
Aaron Harms (Associate Partner (AHarms@monitor‐

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Article publication date: 1 January 2012




The paper aims to warn executives that their strategy initiatives are at risk every time the message delivered in their speeches is not convincing or clear. The responsibility for producing a successful narrative is on leaders to transfer meaning and motivation, rather than on the audience to receive and interpret a speech.


The paper focuses on four elements when crafting effective narratives: audience, purpose, acts, and flow. Each of these elements involves a fundamental choice. The paper proposes that understanding these elements will enable to messages to be put across using the right architecture for persuasion. Detailed points on each are offered.


The paper finds that, when crafted with emotion and logic, potent stories can motivate people to adopt a challenge or change their behavior.

Research limitations/implications

The authors are veteran scenario developers whose clients include prominent corporations and innovative federal agencies. Their how‐to advice is based on field experience.


The paper proposes that effective narratives – stories – that win both hearts and minds – enable leaders to achieve difficult goals.



Randall, D. and Harms, A. (2012), "Using stories for advantage: the art and process of narrative", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 40 No. 1, pp. 21-26.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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