What is the value of storytelling in improving safety?


One of the reasons why administrative work gets separated from operational work is that they exist in different worlds. What a story is, is a way of creating a world for someone else that they can’t live in all the time. We can’t always be in someone else’s shoes, but if we listen to their stories, then that gives us some sense of what life is like for them. So, storytelling is a good way of artificially creating environments and shared understandings. Most of the power of stories comes from listening to them rather than telling them.

Managers and safety people love the sounds of their own voice. You talk about the power of stories, we think that’s means going around telling stories. It’s not our world we need to share. Its not the world of the safety people sitting in their office that needs to be recreated. It’s the world of real work that needs to be created for the people sitting in the office. Storytelling is really important in get an understanding of work is actually like for the people who live the work – everyday. A couple of good stories can summarise many weeks of standing around watching someone work. And watching someone work is both boring and frustrating for both people involved. So listening to stories of people who work is a good way of creating that world in the head of other people.

Drew Rae | Proudly brought to you by HOPLAB & Southpac International.

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