"Become aware what is in you. Announce it, pronounce it, produce it and give birth to it." - Meister Eckhart

25 April 2013

Narrative Approach to Transformational Leadership

Booking Enquiry

The 2013-14 Aberdeen Leadership Forum gets under way this month with another journey into the world of authentic leadership and storytelling.

Founded in 2012 by leadership coach Norton Bertram-Smith and narrative consultant Michael Williams, the Forum invites corporate and community leaders to come together to explore their leadership abilities within the context of authenticity, mindfulness and storytelling. The programme is entitled "A Narrative Approach to Transformational Leadership" and consists of seven day-long sessions held over a year in the beautiful rural setting of the Mary Culter Hotel on the River Dee.

"It's a challenging commitment," says Williams, "but the journey is worth it. Participants examine closely their leadership abilities, their values, beliefs and vision for the future. They really come to know themselves and learn to create and tell the stories that express their authenticity."

There are still a few places left on the programme, so if you or someone in your organisation is looking to take your leadership skills to another level, consider joining the Aberdeen Leadership Forum.

Click on the link above or contact Norton Bertram-Smith at On Purpose or call 01224 791876.

18 April 2013

All the World's a Stage

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts."
(Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II: vii)

Shakespeare's observation that we come to play many parts over the course of our lifetime certainly rings true for me. While my father worked for one company for thirty-five years of his working life, I, on the other hand, have had to--and at times chosen to--play many parts -- gardener (my first teenage job for pay); hitch-hiker and wandering minstrel (no pay); hard-rock miner; steel-worker; factory labourer; carpet-layer; salesman; house-painter; door-to-door salesman; college student; adolescent-care worker; coffee-house waiter and dish-washer; handy-man; family therapist; record salesman; western-wear salesman; window-washer; truck driver; furniture mover; traveller; gang-leader (that's a long story); school-bus driver; group-home parent; university student; literary researcher; night-time baker; gifted student adviser; writer and poet; book-binder salesman; PhD candidate; university lecturer & tutor; high-school English teacher; pastoral counsellor; business web site builder; private tutor; peace education facilitator; teacher development adviser and assessor; education consultant; workshop facilitator and trainer; filmaker; and a son, grandson, brother, lover, husband, father, grandfather, uncle, cousin, ex-husband, friend and not-so-good friend; coach and mentor; leadership consultant and . . . (whew!) . . . a STORYTELLER!

My chequered working life has demanded flexibility, agility of mind and body, and adaptation. It has made me who I am today. And it has coloured the narrative arc of my life story. Of course, there are times--mostly when I don't know where the next pay-cheque is coming from--when I think what my story might have been like had I settled for one profession instead of being a sort of "jack-of-all trades and master of none".

But mostly I am grateful for the story that I and the countless people whose paths I have crossed and walked on have co-created. I try to think of it as a tale of a rather long apprenticeship. It's not to say that there are times when I wish I could have become a professional storyteller at a younger age; but then I think, I couldn't be the storyteller I am today if I'd not encountered all those experiences and stories of which I was a part over a lifetime.

No, I'm learning to accept what I've made of life--the successes and failures, the achievements and mistakes. I'm learning to cherish the talents entrusted to me by the divine. I've tried to do the best with them. I just hope She/He/It has enjoyed the story as much as I have.

So, what's your story? What parts have you played in the play that is your life? How have you used your talents?

I'd be grateful if you'd share that in the comments box below (or email me if you wish). Thank you!


"We have received only very positive reports of your workshop, and must thank you for being so flexible and responsive both before and in the course of implementing the workshop. It has been lovely to work with you. . . . We are hopeful this project will give rise to future storytelling endeavours, and would be very happy to work with you again if the opportunity arises!" Muireann Crowley, At Home in Scotland, University of Edinburgh, May 2014 ("Storytelling, Research and Public Engagement" workshop)

Michael Williams is a a storyteller of compelling skill. He is also a fine human being who engages in all situations and draws people into the warmth of communication and shared experience." Donald Smith, Director, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh Scotland

"Michael's understanding of storytelling within a leadership and business context has helped us provide a great service in helping leaders determine their personal and organisational destiny and legacy. Working with Michael is inspiring and fun; and pulls you to be fully engaged from start to finish." Norton Bertram-Smith, Managing Director and Leadership Consultant for On Purpose.

Kamink: the little boy who grew into a giant of a man

Blues and Roots Radio

Blues and Roots Radio
Check out my weekly storytelling radio show, The Teller and the Tale on bluesandrootsradio.com.

Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland
I'm grateful to Creative Scotland for its support.