Work colleagues standing around a storyboard in different coloured clothing

Once upon a time …..

… there was a land where the majority of business leaders were too consumed with statistical targets and missd the fairytale outcome …

 

Fancy a simple way to get the people in your organisation to achieve objectives? Tell them a story.

 

Don’t worry, we haven’t lost our marbles. Here’s proof:

  •  Advertisers have long since acknowledged the importance of storytelling when promoting brands
  •  Parents rely on storytelling to develop comprehension and learning
  •  Teachers value storytelling to kick-start creativity
  •  Even numbers-led investors like to know the story, right?

So, how come we forget about it in the workplace?

Managers spend a lot of time pouring over figures, defining statistical targets and communicating to their teams the numbers that are required to achieve business objectives.

Many fail to tell a story to demonstrate how they can all get there. They forget about enabling their people to visualise the journey and miss out on the benefits of getting their colleagues to FEEL a part of what they are doing.

A recent research study¹ indicates that storytelling is receiving increasing attention and suggests some of the ways it can be effective:

  • Building credibility and trust – reveal your humanity at work. Share stories of where you have grappled with difficult decisions or made errors
  • Developing a joint understanding of your organisation’s purpose and vision – are there stories that illustrate the strengths of your business and how it has adapted to earlier challenges?
  • Stimulating engagement and genuine commitment – share tangible stories of how the organisation is achieving its goals, how it makes a difference to real customers and how it accommodates the needs of employees
  • Managing change – have you read or heard about examples of change similar to those that you want to bring about? If they were successful, why? Would sharing these stories help alleviate fear or uncertainty?

Are you already ‘telling stories’ or are you a leader who has not yet recognised the strength of storytelling in motivating and engaging employees, especially when change in the workplace is required?

If so, try putting your story before your numbers and the fairytale ending is perhaps more likely to happen……..

 

¹ Roffey Park Institute has recently published research report entitled ‘The Leader as Storyteller’ citing more examples of how storytelling can help address many of today’s key leadership challenges.