Visit my show at the PSCCU Credit Union, Vashon, Washington May, June 2024 

Story Pros: Geoff Mead—Narrative Leadership

Geoff Mead is a skilled organizational storyteller who combines the artistry of a traditional storyteller with years of  experience with leadership development. He shows how storytelling can be far more than a tool for persuasion—it can be a tool for personal, organizational and societal change.

Highlights from the show

What is narrative leadership and why does it matter.

Leading is making meaning with people and grounded story narrative is an extraordinary powerful way to make meaning.

Our desire to shape and make meaning and our desire to connect both come together in story.

“We are the storytelling animals.”

Creating modest moments of humanity can help people connect.

“If you really listen, you expose yourself to the possibility of being changed and if you’re not open to being changed, you haven’t listened, you’ve just heard the words.”

“We create our selves through stories, the stories we tell about ourselves and the stories we tell.”

“You can change the relationship you have to the story of your life and what has happened” even if you can’t change what happened.

“Once we know stories and can articulate them then we can have stories, until that point the stories have us.”

Why a sense of invitation is so important when you are encouraging people to explore their own stories.

Stories can be an invitation for us to expand.

“Stories are invitations to dwell in a world which might inform us differently.”

“Unless I myself am open to the story, and what it can teach me, I have no right to tell it…There’s a necessary humility in the role of storyteller.

There’s something slightly subversive about the role of the storyteller.

The importance of the small stories that are essential to changing the larger narrative.

How “simulacra”stories (the ones with no relation to the underlying reality (facts) and no desire to represent it) are playing in the world today, And how such stories played out in the US Elections and Brexit where progressives never were able to come up with a compelling counter-narrative.

Refernence of Alan Chinen, Beyond the Hero; In the Ever after; Waking the World.

Why the hero’s journey story can fail us in the second half of life.

The second half of life stories support us with a different shape – the second marriage to one’s self.

“The elder stories are not about questing they’re about being. About allowing the fruits of one’s life to repay one.  THere’s a second innocence, a return of magic. And we give back.”

“The great gesture of elder hood is giving back.”

How Geoff has honored his wife’s passage, using his writing to pay conscious attention to his process of grief,



Click here to listen to episode 63 in iTunes

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About my guest

Geoff researches, consults, writes and teaches in the fields of Narrative Leadership and Action Research. He is on the faculty of the Ashridge Doctorate in Organizational Change and an Associate Fellow at Oxford Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.

He is the founding director of Narrative Leadership Associates, a consultancy focused on the use of storytelling for sustainable leadership and a leader in the emerging field of narrative leadership and storytelling in organisations. He was formerly on the faculty of the Civil Service Top Management Programme and a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Bath (School of Management). He had a prior career in the UK Police Service, which he left in 2002 as a Chief Superintendent.

He is passionate about stories and storytelling and has taken his work on storytelling and narrative leadership into a wide variety of organisational settings including: Air BP, Action for Children, BAE Systems, Civil Service Top Management Programme, Deloitte, Fat Face, KPMG, London Probation Service, Openreach, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Beachcroft, Universities of Bath, Oxford and Surrey, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, National Health Service, National School of Government, and Public Service Management Wales.

Geoff has co-created and facilitated leadership development programmes in a range of contexts, including the national police Accelerated Promotion Scheme, the Top Management Programme at the National School of Government, and for a variety of corporate clients at Oxford Saïd Business School. He completed an MBA at Henley Management College in 1991 and a PhD at Bath University in 2002.

He has published two successful books on the subject of narrative leadership as well as a wide variety of papers and articles in both academic and professional journals. Coming Home to Story: Storytelling Beyond Happily Ever After, was published by Vala in November 2011. Telling the Story: The Heart and Soul of Successful Leadership was published in April 2014 by Jossey-Bass.

The Show Notes

Learn more about Geoff’s consultancy work at a non-profit center for organizational storytelling

Geoff’s blog:



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