A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a good story is worth a million. Here's a five-minute story about how the company I co-founded, Idea Champions, won a large contract from AT&T by teaching the Director of Training and Development how to juggle in five minutes.
Read the full story in this book
A priest, a penguin, and a newspaper reporter walk into a bar
Me speaking about storytelling in business
While brand positioning isn’t particularly hard to explain, neither is describing how a plane flies. But the physics of rapid air flow over the wings is one thing; actually designing and piloting a plane is something else all together.
Our team was asked to anonymously submit questions that they wanted answered. While there are many important ones, narrowing it to the top 3 was difficult. But, here's where we landed. I share them here because I imagine they may apply to your organization as well:
Scott Bowden spends a great deal of time thinking about what he terms as “historical innovation,” which is the concept that one can improve the efficacy of modern innovation programs by studying examples of how people solved problems in the past , and applying those techniques to the challenges faced by current students of innovation.
One of the biggest challenges that internal change agents have when it comes to fostering a culture of storytelling in the workplace is building the business case -- why it matters and what the impact can be. The quote below, from John Kotter, author of Leading Change, will help. If you need help building your case, shoot me an email and I will send you some more "grist for the mill" -- links to compelling articles and videos on the topic.
Storytelling at Work: the blog
Storytelling at Work: the book
The author of both
If you are looking for a simple way to leverage the power of storytelling in your organization, but haven't found an "off the shelf" solution, I know why: it doesn't exist. And WHY it doesn't exist is because your organization's needs are unique. One size fits all does not fit all. That's why Idea Champions' storytelling workshops are all customized. We mix and match from a broad selection of modules to create the perfect fit for you. All we need to know is what topics you'd like to see us address and in what ratio. Simple. And we don't charge for customization.
-- Building a business case for the benefits of storytelling
-- Improving listening and feedback skills
-- Activating the innovation mindset
-- Sharing in-house best practices
-- Communicating tacit knowledge (i.e. insight and wisdom)
-- Going beyond your organization's old story
-- Generating new ideas and solutions
-- Increasing trust and teamwork
-- Improving idea selling skills
-- Inspiring action and meaningful follow through
-- Fostering a culture of storytelling in the workplace
Creating the Innovation Mindset
Storytelling at Work
OTHER RESOURCES FOR YOU
We wrote the book
We also wrote the blog
The workshop is taught by this gent
A priest, a penguin, and a newspaper reporter walk into a bar. The penguin orders a shot of Red Eye. The priest starts juggling three flaming chain saws. The newspaper reporter turns to the bartender, smiles and says: "I know there's a story here somewhere."
And yes, there is. There are stories everywhere. As the poet, Muriel Ruykeser once said, "The world is not made of atoms. The world is made of stories."
Almost everyone in business these days -- at least the people responsible for selling big, hairy ideas -- knows that the difference between success and failure often depends on what kind of story is told -- and how well. Content may be King. But it is Story that built the kingdom. Or as Steve Jobs once put it, "The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller."