GUIDELINES FOR WRITING STORIES 

FOR THE LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE, 6TH EDITION

When we poll readers about their favorite features of The Leadership Challenge, two always stand out—stories of exemplary leadership and the research behind The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®. The stories provide examples of how leaders enact The Five Practices and the data provide evidence that these practices make a significant difference in the real world. This is why every edition of The Leadership Challenge includes stories and data.

Stories put a human face on success. They tell readers that someone just like them can make extraordinary things happen. They put the behavior in a real context. They create organizational role models that everyone can relate to. Stories make values and visions come alive. They illustrate what leaders can do when faced with adversity and why they can’t do it alone. They do a far better job of teaching readers about how leaders enact exemplary leadership practices than statistics and policy statements. 

We are now in search of new stories to include in 6th edition of The Leadership Challenge coming out in 2017. We are inviting contributions, and we hope you’ll consider this opportunity to showcase a leader whom you know who exemplifies one or more of The Five Practices. If you’d like to submit a story, we would be delighted to consider it. While we may not be able to use every story submitted, the exercise of writing and telling stories is great way to practice using one of the essentials skills of facilitating and coaching—a skill we also urge every leader to master.

If you’d like to contribute, here are some important guidelines to take into consideration:

Deadline
We need written stories by May 1, 2016. I know the timeline is short, but we’re already at work on the book, and we have a deadline to complete the entire book by the end of this year. We’re moving fast! 

Length
The stories can range from 350 to 1,500 words. The average length of the stories in The Leadership Challenge is around 700 words, or about two printed pages.

Focus
We are looking for stories that show how individual leaders demonstrate one or more of The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership. We are not looking for stories about companies or products, including The Leadership Challenge Workshop®. The leaders are the main characters in these stories; the stories are about them, the challenges they face, and what they do. 

Types of Leaders
We believe leadership is everyone’s business. Leadership exits at every level, in all types of organizations and groups, in all sectors, all functions, and all countries. Every demographic group has leaders. We are looking for a diverse set of leaders, and in particular those who’d be considered middle level. While we will consider a few CEO examples, we are far more interested in non-CEOs. The best way to envision the kind of leader that would be ideal for a story is to think about the typical leader in one of your The Leadership Challenge Workshops. That is the person about whom and for whom we’re writing.  If you were to write a story about one of your participating leaders, you would be on target.

First Draft
We see this as an opportunity to practice one of the essential skills of a master facilitator—writing stories. So, we are asking you to write a first draft. Don’t worry about whether it’s polished or not. We assure you that all the stories will have to be edited. It usually takes us about four rounds of editing to get a story into shape for publication. We’re just looking for a first draft at this point. If we are able to use your story, we’ll get in touch about next steps. 

Style
Use a narrative style. Please write the leadership story like you’re telling it around a campfire or the dinner table at home. Make it emotionally engaging and memorable. 

Story Elements
We’ve created a description of the story elements and a worksheet to help you get started. If you’d like to consider contributing a story, we encourage you to take a look at the document titled “Story Elements” that you’ll find below and in the side bar.

If you need examples of stories that we've used in the current and prior editions of The Leadership Challenge, we’ve posted a few in the side bar for your review. Some are longer—e.g., the Barby Siegel opening story from The Leadership Challenge, 5th Edition—and some are brief—e.g., the Carolyn Borne story on Enabling Others to Act from The Leadership Challenge, 3rd Edition. Not everyone has all the elements because of length, but the core parts of story are there.

To submit your story, please complete the "Story Writing Worksheet" and submit to TLC6Stories@wiley.com    

Submission form

Complete the "Story Writing Worksheet" and submit to TLC6Stories@wiley.com by May 1, 2016.