Katie Snapp Q&A
I was attracted to the practice of Katie Snapp. Her focus is leadership, and she asks leaders what their leadership story is. She also holds a certification in New Life Story Coaches™ Training, which intrigues me. It’s a pleasure to bring you this Q&A with Katie:
Bio: Katie K. Snapp comes from a corporate business environment and technical production, where the daily grind was less than inspiring, until she found the hidden secrets in transforming work into creative prospecting. After leaving the engineering world 21 years ago, she became a Leadership Performance Coach and a nationwide speaker. She thrives in interacting with groups and training teams to be more productive while having fun.
Katie’s first book Skirt Strategies: 249 Success Tips for Women in Leadership has just been published and is a collection of inspiring ideas and practical tips for women in leadership.
Katie is also the founder of Better-Leadership.com, an online resource for what she refers to as the “Everyday Leader.” This ever-growing website serves as a worldwide outreach to educate leaders in not only the basics of leadership, but how to realize fuller potential.
Q&A with Katie Snapp:
Q: The storytelling movement seems to be growing explosively. Why now?’ What is it about this moment in human history and culture that makes storytelling so resonant with so many people right now?
A: It is definitely growing, but it really has always been there to a large degree. Storytelling has been around since the beginning of time and was critical because it was the primary medium for passing along culture, history, lore, lessons learned. I believe we are simply re-labeling it and deploying it just a little differently.
Now that we have such powerful communications tools, it is still as important, but more massive that we can digest. So, we find those areas that we can relate to. We find the channels (blogs, websites, newsletters) where there are people to which we can personally relate. The stories have always been there, but now we have vast media to broadcast them.
Corporate storytelling is new on the scene though, at least in title. Take anything you might have previously labeled as “rumor” or “bad customer experience” and refine it a little. It makes a GREAT story when told with the key elements of storytelling — which include plot, people, problem, place, emotion, and hopefully the eventual solution.Q: What future aspirations do you personally have for your own story work? What would you like to do in the story world that you haven’t yet done? A: I just started a Leadership Blog that includes Bad Leadership Stories. This blog is professional, reviewed and edited, so my aspirations for it are BIG and different from many blog mechanisms out there. I want people to have a venue to share in a controlled, professional manner.
Because I am a trainer and a problem-solver at heart, I hope that these blogged stories that come out will lead to ideas for anyone in need. I will develop web pages to address the issues the get exposed in the “Bad” stories.
(I would love additions to the blog. See http://www.better-leadership.com/Leadership-blog.html to share a story, or read one.
Q: What’s your favorite story about a transformation that came about through a story or storytelling act?
A: It’s a small one, but a great example. Gregory Maguire is a prolific author of children’s stories, and other stories, including Wicked, which went on to become the well-known Broadway musical. After roughly 23 publications, he observed that every one of the central characters he wrote about was missing a parent or had a dead mother. Odd pattern, and not recognized for years. Recently, though, Maguire noticed it and explained how his mother had died during childbirth. After all, if the mother is there, what’s the problem? How could there possibly be a story? This recurring theme is now a part of his newly aware belief system.
Q: You wrote to me when accepting my Q&A invitation: “With a credential that I earned last year, I now integrate my leadership training experience into coaching individuals to understand their belief systems and how those beliefs (both empowering as well as limiting ones) write their story. Corollary topics to the life story include: your career story, your money story, your wellness story, your relationship story). All those have the same premise about how we see the world through our story filter.” First, can you talk a bit more about the credential you earned, and secondly, can you discuss the advantages of “see[ing] the world through our story filter”?
A: My Life Story credential is through a terrific program called Live a New Life Story by Dr. David Krueger at Mentorpath. His vast experience as an executive coach and author has led to powerful material about recognizing your personal themes and patterns. I realized this had potent application to leaders in the workplace and developing ourselves as more effective leaders through self-discovery. Thus, my adaptation to leaders!
Much of our personal story is derived from the “messages” we received while growing up. These become the filters for interpreting the world around us. Of course that can be a terrific tool for engaging us with what we are good at. For example, if your message was “always try your best,” you are more likely to see challenges as something to focus intently on and push through until you know you put all your effort into it.
Consider also the message that we sometimes get in a tough-love family of “don’t screw up.” Surely, mom’s and dad’s intent was something about becoming a high performer, but in our developing years we may have heard it as “you are close to being a failure.” Imagine! Now, our radar is honed in on any misstep and a fear of failure may hinder our efforts.
In adulthood, we can thwart many of those beliefs simply through conscious awareness. The problem though … many of those beliefs may be subconscious to us. Time to become introspective.
Q: Boiling down your approach to its simplest terms sounds like “change your story, change your life.” However, you seem to possess unusually solid knowledge of the neuroscience behind such an approach. Can you talk about how neuroscience enters into your story and leadership work?
A: I love science. At some level we think of “behavior” as being something intangible and therefore more difficult to manage. But not so true if you have some fundamental concept of the science behind our brains and our conscious minds. Our neuronal networks are built over repetition. Firing them enforces hardwiring them. So those deeply entrenched beliefs or repetitive thought patterns that we just mentioned that are drilled into us are changeable, whether adopted early in childhood or just a part of what we believe work or leadership should be like.
These beliefs (and the same thing goes for habits) are pathways in our brains that are easily accessed because they are strongly wired. We used them a lot so they became hardwired. BUT … that does not mean we cannot unwire them. True. Through conscious behavior change, we can avoid using those old networks and can start building the ones we want.
The journey begins with recognizing your patterns and habits, owning them, reassessing them, and then changing those that we want to let go. Try telling your story in the future. Where do you want to be? Who do you want to become? What do you want to extend that you are successful at now? Then focus on that desires outcome — the future story — and you will be setting the new paths in your brain to make them happen.
It is a little more complicated than that, but our minds have a way of making reality of whatever we focus on. You are reinventing your story!