“Political Narratives” and Thought Leadership: Close Cousins

 Several newspaper and magazine columnists have been chiding President Obama for lacking a “narrative.”  New York Times op-ed pundit Frank Rich vented this on Sunday in his column, which you can read here. (It's insightful reading no matter what your political persuasion.)  

Rich's Times colleague Tom Friedman used the same word in an October op-ed, explaining Obama’s “narrative problem” as one of not persuasively connecting for the public his policy initiatives in health care, banking, climate change, education, war, and other big issues -- failing to tie them together and show how (in Obama's view) they are all necessary pieces of a critical solution.  Wrote Friedman: “Such a narrative would enable each issue and each constituency to reinforce the other and evoke the kind of popular excitement that got him elected.” And last month Friedman took up the charge again. 

I see professional firms that suffer from Obama's problem -- only on a more micro-issue level -- in many of the articles, presentations and books that they write.  The biggest ideas in consulting had a narrative that tied together a bunch of disparate ideas on a single big issue, creating a unified field theory of sorts about how to think about the problem and the solution.  When a professional firm can create such order out of chaos, its ideas become a strong magnet for client attention.   

We wrote about this a couple of years ago, but the ideas still resonate today. Maybe even more.  (Click here to read it.)  

How well do the experts at your firm create "narratives" for their clients?  If they do (and do it well), do they command more client attention?



Add new comment