Want a different outcome? Change the story

painting depicting sudden change

If you want to change a person, group or outcome, you’ve got to change the story. Our stories can be our best friends or our worst enemies. They can be the guiding light that steer us toward success and fulfillment or they can be the roadblock that keeps us from serving our best interests.

Every individual and group has a story that is told about who they are and how they came to be. Groups that are stuck or not functioning at full capacity have stories about being stuck in conflict, or lacking ideas, or not being a good mix, etc. When these stories are told over and over they become self-fulfilling.

You have to see it before you can change it

Before any change can be made, the underlying story has to be examined closely because people can’t change what they can’t see. Our image-based approach acts as a catalyst for:

  • Connecting old information in new ways
  • Deepening the bonds between members
  • Engaging people right from the start
  • Building Trust
  • Making respectful dialogue the norm
  • Listening rather than reacting
  • Surfacing new ideas

How can you use this?

You probably don’t work with any two people or groups in the same way. Rather you meet each client where they are, discover their most difficult challenges, and set out to work alongside them to solve it. Sometimes you are a consultant, other times a facilitator, trainer or coach. Your role changes to meet the clients need.

When you do work that changes all the time, you need a flexible customizable tool kit. You want to really know all about your tools. Mastering their use is important, to make sure every engagement is a success.

Transitions and Change

Something is always changing or transitioning. You can respond and react to what is around you, or you can work more intentionally and powerfully with  change by embracing and guiding it to align with the organizational vision. Change is hard for a lot of people, so finding new ways to inspire them and get them engaged is important to success.

Stephanie Carroll


Stephanie Carroll loves change. She thrives on it. But as one of the best organizational development and change facilitators around, she knows that not everybody does. When companies call her in to help, she brings all of her experience — and a big bag of tools. One of those tools? VisualsSpeak.

Recently, Stephanie was working with two organizations that had just become one. At least in theory. Unfortunately, their leadership team was still fragmented–there was no trust on the team. They needed help.

So Carroll, knowing that using images helps people express their ideas more genuinely and in a safe way, brought out her ImageSet . She used the tool to help the team members share their personal values and their leadership values.

In the rich conversation that followed, team members gained deeper understanding into their new colleagues. Carroll helped them highlight commonalities and uniqueness, and it set a tone of sharing and candid conversations for the rest of the work.

Stephanie Carroll, Carroll Consulting Group

Strategic Visioning

Getting people aligned around a common vision is key to organizational success. Whether you are working with the group that is creating the overall strategy or those who are carrying it out, the group is more successful when each person finds a way to align with the overall direction.

Visioning is hard for many. We think we can do it easily, but when we get into the process we tend to default into seeing how ideas won’t work because of the challenges of today. Visuals help stay in what is possible. They give us a way to create artifacts that remind us of what we are working towards.

Vision is complex, strategic, requiring our best abilities to think in broad swaths. Visuals are also complex, strategic and show ideas in broad swaths. The method aligns with the goal. The visuals can carry the big ideas, adding words can bring specifics and steps to get there.


Every VisualsSpeak tool has a natural storytelling generator built into it. The images we select for each product are chosen for their ability to help people express, explore and engage in new ways with their stories, which leads them to having more meaningful conversations, deeper insights, greater empathy for their peers, and more clarity about their situation.

Sheila Kim is called in when organizations need help with strategy. Recently she had the opportunity to work with a public radio station on a new pilot program. At the end of the project the team needed to identify what they had learned. She thought the VisualsSpeak method would be ideal for doing an extensive debriefing process with the team.

She was right.

Using her ImageSet, Sheila asked them to “Tell the story of the pilot” individually. She then continued by having the team build a group image together using the same prompt. They were able to have a deep and fascinating review of what they had done, which they kept adding to over the course of the session.

Sheila said it was easy to pull out the outcomes and challenges, and identify where they could have used additional support. All in all, an enjoyable and productive way to capture important information.

Sheila Kim, Actions in Alignment

The tools to help you

Holistic customized approaches work best when working across the organization. It’s not any one meeting or gathering that solves the challenges, but rather an overall systematic approach. We’ve found using flexible design that adapts to the circumstances you are faced with, works the best.

Organizational change is complex and involves work across multiple areas.  Our bestselling tool for all these purposes is the ImageSet. This laminated set is designed for scalability, durability and flexibility.


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