Category Archives: Stories

What I Learned from 10 Chemical Salesmen and Some Masking Tape

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As a person infinitely more interested in alchemy than chemistry, not once during my formative years as a young entrepreneur did I ever, once, aspire to sit in a room with 10 middle-aged, overweight chemical salesmen from New Jersey -- modern day Willy Lomans driving 100,000 miles each year to call on purchasing agents from Maine to Virginia in a heroic attempt to sell more of their company's product and, eventually, win the "President's Award" that would be bestowed on them, at their year end pow wow, in the Oakwood Room or the Bellmore Room or some other vapidly named meeting space in a modestly priced hotel still trying to figure out how to reduce their high rate of employee turnover.

Frequently Asked Questions About Storytelling at Work

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1. WHO IS THIS BOOK FOR?
Anyone interested in the power of personal storytelling to awaken, inspire, and communicate a meaningful, memorable message -- especially around "moments of truth" on the job. It's also for forward-thinking business leaders who want to elevate the conversation in the workplace and radically increase the odds of peer-to-peer learning happening on a daily basis.

2. WHY IS THIS BOOK TIMELY?
Because the story being told, these days, is predominantly bad news. Terrorism, war, greed, corruption, political infighting, and corporate collapse rule the airways. But something else is also happening and that "something else" too often remains unspoken -- individual stories of insight, breakthrough, kindness, courage, innovation, learning, and wisdom. The more these stories are told, the faster the world's story will change. As the poet Muriel Rukeyser once said, "The world is not made of atoms. The world is made of stories."

Storytelling, the Brain & Work Culture

I love the quote by the poet Muriel Rukeyser that says “The universe is made of stories, not atoms.” Humans live for stories. We learn from stories at home, school, from friends, and also very compellingly at work. Humans within a work culture are motivated by stories. Look at the famous founding myths of HP and Apple in the garages, of ...

Storytelling, the Brain & Work Culture

I love the quote by the poet Muriel Rukeyser that says “The universe is made of stories, not atoms.” Humans live for stories. We learn from stories at home, school, from friends, and also very compellingly at work. Humans within a work culture are motivated by stories. Look at the famous founding myths of HP and Apple in the garages, of ...

Deciphering the Secret Code of Tacit Knowledge

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What is it that all human beings share in common other than the need for air, water, and the undeniable fact that they will answer this question in a wide variety of ways? Well, at the risk of disturbing the people likely to answer this question in a wide variety of ways, I would venture to say a deeply ingrained need to know -- a search for the kind of knowledge needed to thrive in this world.

Share Your Story!

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Stories are powerful. They open minds, shift behavior, inspire, and are remembered -- unlike that last powerpoint show you saw. Stories are the simplest, fastest way to communicate meaningful messages -- an especially important thing for people in business to remember where "mindshare" is at a premium. But you already know that. Intrigued? Click here for 13 video excerpts from my book, Storytelling at Work -- none longer than seven minutes.

If you are intrigued by the presentation platform I am using (GlowDec), let me know. This cool online tool will officially launch on Labor Day. Tweaks are still being made. Viewable only in Chrome and Firefox for now. Here's your sneak peak.

Idea Champions
About Mitch Ditkoff

Why Create a Culture of Storytelling?

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Unless you've been living in solitary confinement for the past few years, chances are good that you are a member of some kind of organization or community -- a gathering of people who have come together in service to a common goal. Whether it's a Fortune 500 company, a non-profit, or a softball team, we are all, whether we know it or not, involved in the process of creating organizational culture -- "a collective way of thinking, believing, behaving, and working."

How conducive the cultures we create are to the success of our missions is anyone's guess, but what is not a guess is the fact that high-performing organizations exhibit the same kind of mission-enabling qualities: trust, shared vision, collaboration, clear communication, diversity of thought, commitment to learning, freedom of expression, and a sense of belonging.

Tiny Sparks of Light

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EDITOR'S NOTE: A few weeks ago, I asked my Facebook friends to send me a story their father liked to tell. The one that follows, submitted by the appropriately named, Michal Story, touched me deeply and reveals a common humanity we all share, even during times of difficulty. I hope you enjoy it. If YOUR FATHER, like Michal's, had a favorite story he liked to tell, please consider sending it to me for possible publication on this blog.

"My father was a man of many secrets. Not by choice, but by temperament. He rarely spoke of his past. He'd come from a chaotic childhood and left home at 16 to join the Navy. He loved the camaraderie it afforded him and was proud of his service. He was what they called a 'lifer.'