My calling is to build institutions that enable you to discover, practice and improve your leadership capacity. The art of Public Narrative helped me discover this calling, and I want to empower you in articulating and sharing your own.
What is Public Narrative: A Leadership Practice
In public life, we all have the choice to “accept responsibility to enable others in achieving purpose under conditions of uncertainty”. This definition of leadership impels upon us the choice to act in the face of challenges whether we are in leadership positions or not. Where does the courage for leadership come from? Our sources of moral and emotional capacity lie in our own stories, and telling them with authenticity can powerfully move our community to join us in action in a way that impersonal “motivational” speeches often do not.
Public Narrative is a leadership course developed by Prof. Marshall Ganz at the Harvard Kennedy School. I am one of many who has found their voice and calling by learning to tell a public narrative. This approach was a cornerstone of the success behind Barack Obama’s 2008 election campaign, and has since been learned and practiced by more than 30,000 senior leaders across the world. [See a successful example of a Public Narrative in Obama’s 2004 Democratic National Convention speech]
Why it is powerful: It ignites the emotional capacity for Leadership
- Storytelling is as old as time itself: we live and relate to each other in the form of stories we tell ourselves
- Reason and logic is the language of the head. We need that, but we also need to speak the language of the heart. Storytelling is emotional communication.
- In public life, if you don’t author your own story, others will do it for you
- In times of crisis, fear and apathy, telling a story of who we are can mobilize your community into action by building a group identity around values rather than categories
- As Jayanti Ravi, an alumnus of the HKS course put it, “in this course students learn how to bring out their ‘glow’ from within, not how to apply a ‘gloss’ from without.”
Why I Teach Public Narrative
While I was still taking the class in 2018, I became a narrative coach for workshops that have since taken me to different parts of the US along with Prof. Ganz and his incredible teaching team. I also taught the first full-length online Public Narrative course through HKS Executive Education. Why, of all the things I could be doing, have I found my calling in this art? In this video I share why:
What my students had to say
I helped teach the inaugural Public Narrative course offered online through Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education. Students of this course included non-profit leaders, entrepreneurs and public officials from more than 30 countries. Their anonymous evaluations of my teaching brought in some of the highest ratings ever seen at HKS Executive Education, along with these specific testimonials:
“Aditi is very knowledgeable and compassionate. She is a fantastic teacher. To take the time and effort to truly hear each one of us and ask the right questions to guide and push us is no easy feat and she was superb. I have been struggling to put together my PhD proposal for 9 months and after 2 sessions with Aditi poking and prodding me with questions I didn’t know to ask I was able to do the entire proposal in a week. Truly grateful.”
“She is honestly has the perfect temperament mixed with knowledge, passion and love for the craft and people. A phenomenal teacher.”
“[Aditi] knows the material cold. Very encouraging while also demanding high standards.”
“Aditi’s strength is in her energy. She really stepped up and out. Never felt age or experience was an issue.”
“Aditi has a true gift for this. She shares her skill and time beyond the call.”
“Public Narrative has changed my life. I write professionally and have an academic background in management/leadership and communications. No other course has allowed me to bring my whole self into the learning process as much as this one. I continue to be inspired by my classmates, my teaching fellow Aditi and Marshall. There’s no other word for this experience, other than transformative.”
Join a community of leaders harnessing storytelling to inspire action.
I offer open-enrollment workshops, as well as customized trainings & one-on-one consulting for leaders in any sector. Please reach out if this is of interest to you: firstname.lastname@example.org.