Storytelling to Drive Business Growth

Vision and Strategy

Growth is the ultimate yardstick used to measure your effectiveness as a leader. The primary goal is to achieve sustainable, profitable growth for your shareholders and investors. To lead an exceptional organization, you must do this consistently, regardless of global pressures, economic fluctuations, market forces and competitive challenges.

A major differentiator in driving your strategy forward is sharing stories that highlight the values and behaviors that are critical to growth. The importance of storytelling may surprise you. As a leader, you rose in the ranks because of your intelligence, hard work, and technical expertise-not because you could tell a story. But a recurring theme for leaders is that what gets you to the top won’t be sufficient to success once you get there. Now you need to be able to marshal action by moving hearts and minds. You need some new tools for your toolbox, and storytelling is the best one for the purpose.

There are many reasons:

* Storytelling is as old as the hills and as hot as your latest iPhone app. Storytelling has been around for thousands of years because it’s a sophisticated, high-level form of communication. Stories engross people-just like a great movie or book.

* Stories you help connect with people, logically and emotionally. In an Age of Distraction where people’s attention gravitates to their BlackBerrys and iPads, stories give people a reason to keep listening to your message.

* Stories help people remember your important point. As a vision, “we need to grow by 15 percent” is an abstract statement. It’s not going to inspire people beyond your board or C-suite. But a story sticks, and a great story is something that people will share, spreading your vision.

More than anything, though, stories are an opportunity to capture, bottle, and share the steps people are taking to drive growth for your organization. Your vision and strategy may be compelling… but they’re abstract concepts. When you share a story, you’re telling people what you really mean when you’re talking about the culture you want to create.

In short, storytelling is not a nice-to-do activity; it’s a must-do essential for leaders looking to make great things happen. You might be thinking that you’re just not a natural-born storyteller. Well, nobody is. But it’s a muscle that you can build with the right coaching and tools. We recommend a tool called the Bates Story Structure. Using this tool, you can take just about any powerful experience-personal or professional-and turn it into a three-minute, six-part story that will resonate with your audience. In simple terms, here’s that structure:

* The Setup: The who, what, when, and where of the story

* The Buildup: A problem, conflict, challenge, or obstacle faced

* The Scene: A “moment of truth” or specific point in time when you walk us through exactly what happened

* The Resolution: How did that conflict or problem turn out? What was the outcome?

* The Lesson: What did you learn or take away from this experience?

* The Audience Theme: How does that lesson connect to an important point that you want to make to the specific audience that is listening to or reading your story now?

To download our full guide on “Converting Vision and Strategy into Action” click here