Leaders face a constant challenge to keep staff focused on priorities amidst the constant barrage of information. Although there are many advocates for effective storytelling in the workplace, storytelling is still perceived by a majority of decision-makers as a “nice-to-have” and a “soft skill” that adds some colour commentary but has no real value.
Upon closer inspection, strategic stories reflect the soul of the business. These stories are the organizational glue that reminds people why they come to work every day and can play an extremely positive role in the workplace.
Every leader’s job description should include the role of tribal story-teller that allows employees to quickly simplify and internalize the complexity of the organization and to create meaning. These stories illustrate how leaders overcame challenges, made good business decisions and delighted clients. Well told strategic stories can dramatize the reason for the organization’s existence – the “why” of the business and reinforce its business strategy and mission.
Stories that help to make sense of the key drivers for change or the organization’s mission are better remembered and more effective when they contain true stories shared with emotion. For example, the anatomy of a customer story that includes the challenges the customer faced, the actions that were taken to assist the customer, the result and the lessons learned can build community and spur sales.
People are not moved by data in a spread-sheet – they tend to be moved more by real stories in context that help to make sense of the data.
Lessons shared through storytelling become powerful ways of focusing attention on the issues at hand because stories stand out from the day-to-day message flow and are heard above the noise of data pollution.
Compelling stories that are repeated, help feed the cultural hub of the organization, build community, invite participation and give meaning to employees.
Leaders who engage in strategic storytelling help to make sense of the organization, enabling employees to see the organization through their eyes. Well-planned strategic stories contain distinctive customer and employee experiences and unique perspectives. The more employees hear and internalize these stories, the more it becomes their story. And the more the organizational story becomes their story:
So, whether you are a solopreneur, a manager of 20 staff or a leader of a large organization, it’s time to add “strategic storyteller” to your job description. The goal in strategic storytelling is to get customers and staff to connect the dots about the why of the organization, leading to better staff and customer engagement and increased market share.
Listen [and download] the audio version of The Strategic Storyteller.
Presented by Tracey Wimperley and Dene Rossouw
Tracey and Dene will inspire you with fresh thinking about the benefits of introducing a storytelling culture to your organization. While there won’t be campfires or ceremonial drums, you’ll leave with practical ideas on how strategic storytelling can increase commitment and engagement – creating meaning, energize your culture – creating momentum and drive productivity that leads to profitability – ultimately money in the bank. Contact us.
Helping you change your world, one conversation at a time
Dene Rossouw is co-founder of AuthenticDialogue.com in Vancouver, specializing in influencing and innovative solutions. He helps his clients have the necessary conversations of leadership to change their world, one conversation at a time. He can be reached at 1.778.386.5167.