Business Entrepreneur Storytelling at Entre-Slam with Deb

Entre-Slam is an entrepreneurial story telling competition held in Ann Arbor. Storytelling is powerful – and is a key leadership tool.  Telling my story was also a great way to illustrate storytelling as important to change and communicating complex ideas, including my history in organization development (OD).  

Deb, Entre-Slam in Detroit
Deb’s most recent Entre-Slam in Detroit, Fall 2013

Explaining OD to the uninitiated is like describing “Business Intelligence” or “databases” to optometrists, professional athletes or golf pros.  Really, why should they care without a good story?

In my situation, this was a signal to myself to enter the speaking circuit.  I also wanted to place in the top three, so I did something rather unusual for a story telling slam – a rap.  I had a lot to memorize in a short time, so I prepared for this.   The theme was also useful to my professional focus on change; it was Arising from Failure.

My newly memorized business rap also connected with the emotions of the audience, who felt the tension of someone like ME rapping, which was relieved by some humor, quite well actually.  One of the judges held up a winning “10” in fact for my joke.

The video above has added subtitles for the rap.   If the video doesn’t show, here’s the YouTube link.

Here are also a few photos from my evening at Entre-Slam.   Click on any photo see it full size within a photo gallery.

The full size photos are also available for download on here.

In the top videos, you can senses the humor and may feel the productive tension and heart that resulted in three of us being judged as the winners that evening.  It is also my way of sharing the impact of the enigmatic field of Organization Development (OD) work, my long time passion & career:

Have you ever had a failure

that illuminated your passion

and sense of calling?

Your vocation?


Did you ever find a way to

making meaning out of a mess?


What if we all did,

even through some pain?

Like a new birth?


< Deb’s Rap> 

So that didn’t work, they didn’t like me,

But that’s not the point;

It’s all about WE!


WENT to their boss,

SAID, Let me find out.

What’s their real pain?

What’s it all about?


Hey, I’m a truth-to-power person

Asking questions, getting “US” smart

Let them have their power!

It’s a group power art.


Action research, what it is,

For 20 years, no fuss,

A group design intra-preneur,

With the best drivers on the bus….

Their own stories,  they maxin’ –

their pals were transfixed.

They owned their own ‘ learning,

No carrots, NO sticks. 

Building something outta’ nothing, 

Can make you kinda tense, 

And it’s just that tension

Brings the  ‘dollars and sense.


It’s time to leave the corporate U. 

No BIG  publicity.

Build-on PAST that OLD past.

We’re ALL  NEW in synchronicity.  


But, I’m an old chick, 

Yaaa, that’s so last cent-u–ry.

I’m Generation Flux, 

Got creative mem-o–ry.


Being entre-pre-neurial,

Got some Ann Arbor Spark.

Some start-ups getting funded, ‘

Some up-starts getting spark. 


‘A learning lab*, some coaching, 

Facilitate BIG, 

Find your new friends, networks,

Then ya gotta a new gig.


Some haters gonna hate,

So dig down deep.

We refreshing, we renewing,   (relaxing)

In mindfulness with our peeps!


It’s not over,  just startin’

These four years I be earnin’‘

Bus Drivers!

Bus Drivers!

Bus Drivers!


There’s a present in that pain ,

so squeeze out ALL the learnin.’

Congratulations to all the creatives that build wonderful experiences like Entre-Slam.  The founders Christa and Jeannie are pictured above.

As a side note:  I’m struck at the requests to speak on organization health and wellness in light of CEO moves affecting staff flex schedules at Yahoo & Best Buy.  

  • Is it a sign of leader stress and not knowing quite what to do, yet acting decisively?  These days the past is not necessarily the best predictor of future, needed behavior.  Google culture is not Yahoo culture.  Reinforcing the “disposability” or replaceability of staff does not sound like a sustainable growth strategy to me.

Let’s chat more about the power of the story in your organizational culture.  Contact me at or call me.  May you and your leaders be inspired to tell your story including the story of what’s happening next.  

Warmly,  ~  Deb


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Published by dnrevel

Change & transition, Leadership team & organization development. Executive Leadership team coach. My LinkedIn profile:

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