Change Management ? Trojan Storytelling Part 1 of 2

We like to think that when we take medication, it has an unfailing ability to get to where it is required in the body to treat the illness. But do you know, the cells we are trying to treat themselves can block entry to the drug because they think it’s something foreign and potentially harmful. Basically, I don’t know you, I don’t trust you and I am not allowing you in even if you can do some good for me.

To overcome this barrier, one method is to attach the drug to a carrier that the cell sees as friend and will allow in. Thus the drug previously not allowed in, manages to now get in to treat the cell because it is attached to a friendly carrier. These carriers are called Trojan carriers

This concept arises from the well-known story of the Trojan Horse. After years of fighting and not being able to get into the Trojan’s fort, the Greeks pretended to give up and left them a gift of a wooden horse which, unknown to the Trojans, was stuffed full of Greek soldiers. The Trojans victoriously dragged the horse into their fort, and the Greeks hiding inside the horse then came out and promptly massacred the Trojans and won the war.

The intent of Trojan carrier and Trojan horse is different. One cures and other sneaks in to defeat but what we are focusing here on the common denominator that they are both act as carriers that allow entry because they are deemed friendly.

 So what does this have to do with Storytelling?

When you are trying to change mindsets or behaviours, often the direct, rational, argumentative approach results in the defences and barriers going up, even to concepts and ideas that are beneficial to the recipient. So, the mindset or behavior you are trying to change does not change and sometimes becomes worse. Our change management takes a hit. However, change management storytelling can change this.


In Peter Guber’s Tell to Win, he uses the concept of storytelling techniques becoming your Trojan horse, because everyone likes an interesting story, to get through the defences of an individual or organization and facilitate entry of your message or concepts. This happens because we are not telling people to change what they think but via our story carrier we are conveying a point which is important for their future. The story carrier is deemed friendly and allowed entry. People now contend with the idea of changing their minds because they have made that decision themselves to do so.

The current mindsets = cells that need treatment
Facts you convey to change the current mindset = medicine that is not allowed entry and seemed unfriendly
Your story =   carrier on which the point rides and is deemed friendly

In our next blog we will talk about how to craft a story to change mindsets and behaviour.


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