What is the power of Story?
To put it as simply as I know how, I will answer with one word; Why.
I remember being asked to lead a major project in my last 2 years of corporate experience. The work included staff reductions in three states. Rick, who enrolled me to lead the project, gave me 3 pillars around which to build: 1) Achieve the cost savings 2) Maintain and even improve the quality of the work we would be moving around, and 3) Do the right thing by the people.
He made no attempt to tell me how to do what I needed to do. In his 3 pillars I knew what to focus upon. And, even though it may not seem like it at first glance, I had the Why. For me, the 3 pillars became the Story that I, and my project team, had to tell.
What is for the mind. Why is for the heart. −Dave, Coaching Client
Why is the core of compelling narrative. And what and how hold powerful support data if we help others make the connection.
I’ve been booked for a day in Illinois where I will serve as a feedback facilitator. A selection of technical leaders are learning more about the consultative part of their individual roles. As part of this learning experience is practice and application of meeting with an executive, listening, gathering info, and then creating and delivering a compelling presentation to pitch solutions and create partnerships. Through experience these leaders will learn the power of story and storytelling in business.
Years ago I received some similar training. The trainer, Bobbie Lawrie, was an expert in helping executives and politicians speak to the media. While she gave us many tips, tools, and tactics, I came away with 3 simple steps to help me improve in the important task of forming a compelling message:
- Consider my audience. What’s in it for them to hear from me?
- Develop my One Main Message point.
- Provide vivid support to this 1 point.
Considering your receivers opens you to the reality of what. Your main message is the heart of the matter−Why. And, as you provide vivid support, you tie how to the heart, making ever more clear the message.
Confusion can never compel; that takes clarity.
Storytelling is the 7th 21st Century Skill for the leader. Storytelling balances, or pulls together, the objective and subjective into a compelling and ongoing narrative.
Leading from the clarity of your Desire & Intent others are compelled by your purpose (your story). In such clarity, together we are transformed, driven by individual purpose and drawn into a collective vision.
For more on your Voice in the process, see post; Shadow Strengths – Chapter Seven (Love)