Myth #1 Storytelling is about entertainment. While stories may be entertaining, the use of the story is to instruct and lead. Thus, for the leader, storytelling is action oriented—a force for turning dreams into goals and then into results.Myth #2 Storytelling is somehow in conflict with authenticity. In the business world, it is always built on the integrity of the story and its teller. (Guber, 2007)
One of the toughest presentations you can make is to your own staff, kicking off a change effort. The Harvard Management Communication Letter notes there are two ways to accomplish this feat:The Burning Building Approach: Describe the current situation in words so dire that only a fool would want to continue in those circumstances -- but be careful not to lose trust by distorting the picture. You then need to give the desire for change you have created an outlet by enlisting energy in designing a solution. "This stage is where most change leadership fails. Because the leader thinks it's her job to solve all the problems the company has, she spends a lot of energy creating a solution beforehand. The result is resentment or indifference from the employees," the Letter says, because they feel if you have it all figured out things aren't so desperate. Instead, reveal the main outlines of a plan going forward, but leave substantial parts of the picture for the audience to fill in. The Promised Land Picture: Begin by describing an adequate status quo -- again in an honest way -- and then deliver, in glowing terms, a picture that has so much allure for your listeners that they are unable to resist the possibility (be it the chance to become rich, or to participate in breakthrough work, or to otherwise fulfill basic human desires). The key is to understand what your audience wants: "If you misread your people and offer them an outsized prize that they're not really interested in, you'll disgust them. Or invite ridicule." If you hit the right note, you then need to enlist your audience's aid in telling you how you are going to reach the Promised Land. Replace your “buts” with “ands.”Don’t disguise statements as questions.Speak in the first person.Describe rather than evaluate.Persuade respectfully, don’t coerce.Seek first to understand
People have to be brought into the story viscerally and feel that this is their story, a story they want to be part of. Gardner:The storyteller allows the audience to identify with her and therefore brings listeners to a place of understanding and catharsis, and ultimately spurs action. Tell personal stories.The implicit contract - once aroused their expectations will be fulfilled. —take time to understand what his listeners know about, care about, and want to hear. Then craft the essential elements of the story so that they resonate with those needs, starting where the listeners are and bringing them along on a satisfying emotional journeyTell your story in an interactive fashion, so people will feel they’ve participated in shaping the story experience.Make the ‘I’ in your story become ‘we,’ so the whole tribe or community can come together and unite behind your experience and the idea it embodies.”Use images and word picturesUse examples people can relate toRefer to traditional valuesAppeal to common beliefsKnow your audienceUse repetitionBe positive and hopefulSpeak with passion and emotionShow personal convictionKouzes & Posner
Stories provide a way for leaders to connect to the minds and hearts of followers.At the end of the day, words and ideas presented in a way that engages listeners’ emotions are what carry stories. It is this oral tradition that lies at the center of our ability to motivate, sell, inspire, engage and lead (Guber, 2007).Storytelling and leadership are both performance arts, and like all performance arts, they involve as much doing as thinking (Denning, 2005).Truth is an important attribute of both the powerful story and the effective storyteller (Guber, 2007). So, share personal stories as a way of humanizing leadership.
www.TheStrategicLeader.org<br />Why? Story Telling<br /> “The artful creation and articulation of stories …[help] individuals to think and feel about who they are, where they come from, and where they are headed….” <br />Howard Gardner: Leading Minds. <br />The story is a prime method leaders use to convince other people of certain viewpoints or visions. <br />2<br />
We are not talking about this!<br />Its not about entertainment!<br />www.TheStrategicLeader.org<br />3<br />
www.TheStrategicLeader.org<br />We are talking about this<br />Create aCause!<br />4<br />
www.TheStrategicLeader.org<br />For Example<br />If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, and then divide the work, and give orders. <br />5<br />
www.TheStrategicLeader.org<br />Instead...teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.<br />Antoine Marie-Roger de Saint-Exupery<br />6<br />
Assumptions<br />What - Theory<br />Leadership is essentially a task of persuasion—of winning people’s hearts and minds. <br />Storytelling is the single most powerful form of communication.<br />If you can change minds, you can change behavior.<br />Stories convey emotion, context, and a picture of what happened and why it happened. <br /> Great story tellers attach emotion to information, therefore making it more memorable, engaging, and powerful. <br />Stories must be human, authentic, and easy to identify with.<br />One method for humanizing leadership storytelling is to share personal stories. <br />www.TheStrategicLeader.org<br />7<br />
So, HowDo I Tell A Story<br />Every story can be told in three Acts:<br />The Structure of Macbeth<br />Act 1: …Whine, whine, whine<br />Act 2:… Out damned spot!<br />Act 3:… I’m dead.<br />THE END<br />Key elements of a story:<br />Protagonist the listener cares about: The story must be about a person or a group whose struggles we an relate to.<br />Catalyst compelling the protagonist to take action: Somehow the world has changes so that something important is at stake.<br />Trials and tribulations: The story’s second act commences as obstacles produce frustration, conflict, and drama often lead the protagonist to change in an essential way. The trials reveal, test, and shape the protagonist’s character.<br />Turning point: This represents a point of no return, which closes the second act. The Protagonist can no longer see or do things the same way as before.<br />Resolution: This is the third act, in which the protagonist either succeeds magnificently or falls tragically.<br />(Source: “What’s Your Story?” Ibarra Hermina, Kent Lineback, Harvard Business Review, January 2005, Vo. 83, Iss. 1. pp. 64-71)<br />8<br />www.TheStrategicLeader.org<br />
How - Key Concepts - Framing a Story<br />The way a leader uses story to frame planned change influences whether followers to see constraints and roadblocks, or opportunities and potential success. <br />Sophia’s Story <br />Adapted from Steve Denning 2005<br />9<br />www.TheStrategicLeader.org<br />
Activity (Please get into groups of 3 or 4)<br />Select a change that needs to happen in your organization.<br />One of you will put yourself in the shoes of the person who needs to change and tell his/her story as persuasively and coherently as you can. The story will end, “That’s why he/she does not want to change.” [Told in 3rd person]<br />Then the other participant will tell the same story in first person through his/her eyes as persuasively and coherently as possible. The story will end, “ And that’s why I don’t want to change.”<br />The leader in the group, will be asked deliver a two- minute speech using the elements of storytelling to motivate this change to happen within the organization. <br />If there is a fourth person, that person will be responsible for helping to develop the scenario and the speech.<br />Tameka King 2009<br />www.TheStrategicLeader.org<br />10<br />
Take-away Make The Case <br />Effective presentation to get attention<br />www.TheStrategicLeader.org<br />Adapted from Steve Denning 2006<br />11<br />
Takeaway: The storyteller must enter the hearts of listeners, where their emotions live<br />Start from where they are, not from where you are. <br />www.TheStrategicLeader.org<br />Let me tell you a <br />Story!<br />Adapted from Steve Denning 2006<br />12<br />
The TakeawayThe ROI of Storytelling<br />“They (stories) reinforce within followers notions of who they are, where they came from, how they got to this particular place, and who and what they will leave behind. They remind followers of the values they share. They inspire followers to commit and recommit to a common journey.” (Pisapia, 2009)<br />Pisapia (2009<br />www.TheStrategicLeader.org<br />13<br />
References <br />If you would like to do further reading about storytelling I suggest the following. <br /><ul><li>Balderrama, Sandra Rios. (2000). “This trend called diversity.” Library Trends. Volume 49 (1): 194-214.
Bennis, W. (1996). The leader as storyteller. Harvard Business Review, 74(1), 154.
Boje, D. M. 1995. "Stories of the Storytelling Organization: A Postmodern Analysis of Disney as 'Tamara-land.'" Academy of Management Journal. 38(4): 997-1035.
Conger, J. A. (1991) ‘Inspiring Others: The Language of Leadership’, The Executive 5: 31–45.
Denning, S. 2005. The Leader's Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. www.stevedenning.com
Gardner, H. (1995). Leading minds : An anatomy of leadership. New York, NY: BasicBooks.
Guber, Peter. (2007). The Four truths of the storyteller. Harvard Business Review.
Heath, c. & Heath, D. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
Hardy, B. (1978).Towards a poetics of fiction: An Approach through narrative. In M. Meek & G. Barton (Eds.), The cool web (pp. 12-23). New York: Antheneum.
Pisapia, J. (2009). The strategic leader. New tactics for a globalizing world. Charlottee: IAP
Simmons, A. (2006). The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence, and Persuasion Through the Art of Storytelling. New York, Basic Books.</li></ul>www.TheStrategicLeader.org<br />14<br />
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