Company culture is built upon the stories people tell about it. Cleverly crafted memes shared at Town Hall style meetings and posters on the wall don’t build culture. Shining a light on people’s actions when they reflect the desired culture does.
Watching the last series of The Apprentice on TV with Sir Alan Sugar, I almost choked on my ‘oo la la’ ginger tea.
Sir Alan accused one of the candidates of being indecisive. But the candidate vehemently denied it. He said he’d been working for a large corporate retailer for six years. And he wouldn’t be there for so long if he was indecisive. Now would he?
Are you feeling stuck in your business or work right now? Are you’re looking for the next brilliant idea or even a miracle to propel you forward? Yet, it feels like the odds are stacked against you?
The way to unleash your brilliance might be simpler than you think.
Elon Musk is a visionary entrepreneur. While Musk isn’t the most polished speaker in the world – he tells powerful strategic stories with passion and authenticity.
Listening to Musk talking about Tesla Motors or Powerwall, Tesla home battery, we’re grabbed by the stories he tells. He begins by identifying the problem as he sees it. He tells us what he believes will happen if the status quo is maintained. We’re floundering in the darkness of the bleak future.
But then, Musk shows us the light at the end of the tunnel.
Telling stories is great, in the right place and at the right time. But I’m seeing a worrying trend of people being encouraged to divulge personal information through stories, that makes them and people around them feel uncomfortable in business.
Storytelling is a great way to communicate complicated things simply. Science and technology are two areas you need to simplify, simplify, simplify, to make your message matter to your audience. They’re not stupid – they’re just not into the details. They might have other priorities or a different focus to yours.
Stories of fear and hope drive the economy because the stories we tell ourselves are the same stories that we live by.
“Did you get any shamrock?” Granny fussed as she donned her best coat, hat and shiny shoes to go to Mass. She was delighted when my father presented her with a corsage of the three-leafed botanical and after grasping it carefully, she pinned it to her lapel.
It was St. Patrick’s Day and although Mass didn’t excite us kids, the promise of a trip to watch the parade in town afterwards and eating green ice cream did.
“So how are things?” I asked James. He’s a Marketing Director in a big corporate organisation.
“You know, same old, same old,” came his terse reply.
He quickly rubbed his hand across his face and looked drawn.
“Well if I’m honest, I just feel like I’m going around in circles,” he confided.
“Tell me more about these circles?” I enquired.
By 2011 I’d grown restless. I was working as an International Strategic Marketing Consultant for corporate healthcare companies. Every day was spent planning the future of the next chemical entity. But in the present, there was dearth of heart & soul connection and life seemed to be over-taken by work.
One Saturday my email pinged with an invitation to join a mentorship programme for folk who wanted to be more inspired in business.
I said ‘YES’ and signed-up right away.
Recently, Melissa Clough interviewed me about Influencing With Story for her Fearless Success podcast & video series. We had a blast chatting together and you can watch it here now.
But I want to tell you the intriguing story of how we became friends.
Often I hear people say, “but I have no remarkable stories.” It seems easier to cling to precious power point slides. Like Gollum from Lord of The Rings.
But, it’s a lost opportunity. Because stories engage and move people. And everyone….yes everyone… has a wealth of stories. Often, people don’t see them.
And here’s why.