Lead by the Story

Global companies like Apple Inc, Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM use storytelling as their leadership storytelling strategy. Paul Smith, a corporate trainer and author of Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives that Captivate, Convince, and Inspire, says that some companies have a high-level corporate storyteller whose job is to capture and share their most important stories. At Nike, all the senior executives are designated, corporate storytellers.

“The power of storytelling can move people in such a way that facts and figures can’t.”

Tapping into communicating through a leadership story gives you the influencing power and leads to credibility. So what makes an excellent story for effective leadership? 

Read more on the components of business storytelling.

More often, the communication between the management and employees forms the crux of organizational storytelling, which is even more potent than the marketing stories told externally. Internal communication is a lead indicator of human factors and organizational well-being, which is often reflected in the world outside. 

The essence of organizational storytelling is derived from the leaders of change in the organization. At one point, the internal story and the external story would sound the same because of the leadership’s art of crafting the story.

Richard Branson, founder- Virgin Group, has often quoted expressing his respect for storytelling. He also said that “the Virgin story — its ups, downs, opportunities, and challenges — is what attracts people to its products and services, as well as attracting employees to join the Virgin family.” 

Leadership storytelling does contain the events told in a specific narrative. Still, the story has to be woven, representing you as a person and the brand you are trying to elevate. That being said, no rumor is critiqued as being right or wrong. It is purely measured based on the impact created. 

Here are some leadership questions which could give you a headstart – 

  • Who are you as a leader?
  • What do you believe in?
  • How do you aspire your leadership to be defined as?
  • What drives you?
  • Have you developed an action strategy?

The elements of a leadership story are no different from a regular story. The characters, core plot, conflict, and resolution remain the same. In fact, the difference lies in the account being non-fictional and the sequence of the narrative being told.

“Leadership Storytelling is the strategic sequencing of facts and emotions.”

Recounting events that lead to a company’s current position is often mistaken as storytelling. Leadership storytelling differs from leadership communication in reshuffling the order of the events. Resisting the chronological aspect of storytelling is the first step in leadership storytelling. The norm of leadership storytelling is crafting a great story so that it addresses your team’s needs and finds them convinced. 

Storytelling has become a sought-after soft skill, so it must get embedded in its culture. Top-level management has to exhibit the art of business storytelling through narratives and internal communication. 

Leadership Storytelling influences the process of inside-out storytelling, thereby making organizational communication more coherent and effective. 

Effective communication lies in effective inside-out storytelling.

Watch out for the next blog on the business impact of leadership storytelling. Connect with us for more on leadership storytelling. 

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