Archive for December, 2010
The Wall Street Journal is running a series of stories featuring the Top Corporate Stories of 2010. If you had to vote, what would your choices be? BP’s handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill? Nike’s ill-advised commercial featuring Tiger Woods’ dad’s voice? The rescue of the 33 Chilean miners trapped for 69 days?
Write in with your votes and reasons for your choice. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
One of the best ways to describe the benefits of storytelling in the workplace is that stories are the “glue” that helps people to stick together. It’s been proven again and again at Disney Co. and other top organizations that the more people know about one another, the more they care and the more effectively they work together.
When people learn about one another’s life experiences, family culture and personal values, they develop respect, trust and commitment. And when they care about their co-workers, they naturally become more willing to “go the extra mile” to help one another when workloads are overwhelming or personal challenges loom large.
What stories are your employees sharing? Are you encouraging and nurturing storytelling in your workplace? What changes have you seen as a result? Your comments are welcome!
While it’s discouraging to note that the average CEO’s pay is 300 times that of the average worker–a far higher multiple than in decades past–it’s encouraging, particularly during this season of giving, to learn that more billionaires are agreeing to give away most of their fortunes.
As reported in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and AOL’s Steve Case are among those who have recently signed onto to the Giving Pledge initiated by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. The objective is to encourage those with extraordinary wealth to engage in philanthropy earlier in their careers than their predecessors traditionally have done.
As Steve Case’s wife, Joan, explained, “The folks that helped bring AOL to life were out to change the world. It seems a natural thing that as they look at the role they want to play, they are giving back in big ways.”
I’d love to see inspiring stories like this one more often! How about you?
Workplace studies consistently reveal that employees are not chiefly motivated by money but by factors such as recognition. In a column on the subject, Workplace Coach Maureen Moriarty reports that other motivational factors are autonomy, mastery and purpose.
Drawing on author Daniel Pink’s formula for workplace satisfaction and motivation, Moriarty says it’s essential to tap into “the human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create and to improve our world and ourselves.” Based on this perspective, she offers six tips on motivating employees, and one of the six is to give people a sense of purpose by identifying and communcating how their job matters in the context of the entire oganization and its goals.
Storytelling is a highly effective way to achieve this goal. When employees hear the CEO’s vision told as a story of what their future will be, they’re able to see the connection to their own roles in realizing the vision.
When have you seen a business story produce results? Do tell! I’d love to hear your comments.
The Age of Attention has followed on the heels of the Information Age, according to futurist David Houle. The challenge of this decade, he says, is not conveying and finding information you need; the challenge is to capture and keep attention. That’s because everyone is suffering from information overload, which makes it easy to get distracted and hard to get–and stay–focused.
Storytelling is the ideal tool for keeping your stakeholders’ attention focused on the messages you want them to hear and remember. Stories are natural “sense-makers” that help human beings cope with their world. When we receive data-filled information, we search our minds for relevant experiences to associate with the data we want to remember–or make up a story to wrap around the data.
Relating your key messages in story form makes it easier for your audiences to remember your points. Stories grab their attention–and keep it focused on the messages you want people to hear and recall. Storytelling is a perfect tool for this decade. Isn’t it time you learned to master the art of story?
Do you, like many leaders I’ve worked with, feel challenged to find appropriate stories to tell when you need to drive home a point? If you believe you just don’t have good stories to tell, remember that everyone has a lifetime of great stories to draw from–and tells them regularly. You simply need to learn to be intentional.
To start mining your experiences for the gems from your own life, try this simple process:
1. Clarify your key point until you can express it in a few words
2. Recall various times in your life when you’ve gained appreciation for that lesson
3. Fill in as many details about those experiences as you can remember
4. Jot down the details until one of those comes alive all over again
5. Develop the story of that one experience and relate it to the point you want to make
By practicing this process on a regular basis, you’ll soon have a group of reliable stories that will be the start of a rich collection to draw from.