A Storied Workplace

by Megan Alrutz

GettyImages-1070683626In my role as a professor and a theatre-maker, I am a bit obsessed with stories. I love how a story can make me lean in, show me something about myself, and on a rare occasion, shift what I know or believe. I am also keenly aware that personal stories and story-sharing can take us to spaces of deep vulnerability and sometimes fear, especially in the workplace.

Thus, stories sit in a bit of threshold space—somewhere between wonder-full and fear-full. As someone who studies intentional communities of practice, I am interested in what we might gain from exploring this very threshold space around stories and work. How might we share, learn from, and innovate around storied moments in the workplace? How might moments of shared reflection and learning on the job propel our larger institutions and organizations forward? Moreover, what is the value of inviting stories—our own and each other’s—into the work place?

Stories Motivate Achievement

We know from research in education and adult learning theory that stories keep people engaged in projects and achieving outcomes. Adding context and a human element to what we do at work and why it matters can help each of us feel connected to a larger goal and team of people.

Stories Build Knowledge

Stories and experience hold knowledge that might be difficult to formally teach or document, such as how to improvise, problem solve, or respond to individual client needs. As organizations work to pass knowledge from one generation of employees to the next, stories are an often untapped resource.

Stories Create Community

New employees are often hungry to understand how things work and how people relate to each other within an organization or a work process. Sharing stories can be one of the fastest ways to share and gain insight into an organizations’ culture and way of working. Making space for stories and story-sharing can also support relational practices and a culture of curiosity in the workplace.

In your role as an administrative professional, what stories might you be willing to share and invite? How might storied moments benefit your personal work experience or your workplace at large? How might stories and experiences from beyond the workplace offer insight into ways of working, learning, and succeeding on the job?


This blog is authored by one of the amazing speakers scheduled to have a session during our one-of-a-kind event, IAAP Summit.

top-vs_bg-fnlSummit 2020 is going to be offered, for the first time ever, in a 100 percent virtual environment. The Summit experience, which is full of excitement, inspiration, learning, and connection is now coming to you. You can learn more on the Summit website, as well as this FAQ document.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s