Why is Storytelling Important

Today I want to talk about storytelling. As many of you know, I recently released a book on building a heart based culture of compassion and empathy (available Here). The idea behind the book is that you can achieve real results by using compassion and empathy. But the thing is, you can’t just wave a magic wand and have it happen. You have to actively take steps to create the culture that you wish. And one of the most powerful means of doing this, of creating any culture, is through storytelling.

Research studies show that storytelling has a tremendous effect on an organization’s ability to manage change. Why is storytelling so powerful? First of all, stories build familiarity. They build trust; they provide context. Compare two different meetings. In one, you have a leader that presents charts and graphs showing the business results for the quarter. “we beat sales by 10%” for example. A second leader presents the same results but tells stories along with the data. “We beat sales by 10% because we tried this new approach and we saw an overall increase in traffic”. The second meeting will be far more impactful and memorable.

More research shows that facts are twenty times more likely to be remembered if they’re part of a story than if it’s just a recitation of the facts themselves. So, as you’re trying to change a culture, incorporate storytelling into your strategy. Identify stories or behaviors that are good examples of the change you’re trying to make. And, make sure that these stories are widely told, get them out there, put them on your social media, put them on your newsletters, put them in town halls, whatever mediums you have. What you really want to do is to make these stories part of the daily conversation.

I encourage each of you to do that as you’re driving to make change in your organization and as you’re trying to establish a culture. And, I really hope that you’re looking at putting compassion and empathy in your culture. But as you’re doing these things, do it with stories. Leverage the power of storytelling.

As we all deal with the stress and uncertainty of the COVID-19 virus and its impact on our day to day lives, it's important to step back and take the time to care for ourselves. Here are some of the things that are worth consciously working on in the coming weeks.

SPEND TIME WITH LOVED ONES, especially children. In today’s busy world often our time with the ones we love gets put on the back burner. As events, activities, and schools cancel….and more and more people work at home, now is a great chance to get caught up with each other.

REDISCOVER THE SIMPLE THINGS. There was a time when we weren’t “on the clock” 24/7, when our children weren’t spending each evening in activities… when life was a routine. With much of that canceled for the near term, now is an opportunity to have family dinners, play games, read that book that you can never get to. Take a step back from the complications of the world. Take a breather.

FIND THE GOOD IN THINGS. We are bombarded all day and night with the negative things that are going on. There is much criticism over governments, mass hysteria, other nations, etc. But there are good stories out there as well. Stories of people helping people. While it's a shame that we have to work hard to find these, it is worth the effort.

Last, and most importantly, KEEP A POSITIVE MINDSET. It is so easy to succumb to the negativity that flows from a crisis such as this one. But keeping a positive mindset is one of the best things that you can do during this time. Positive energy will help you maintain your health, be productive, and reduce stress. Moreover, it is contagious. Everyone that you come in contact with (from 6 feet away of course) will be affected by your energy, even if just a little bit. And the more positive energy that is released into the world, the better this situation will be and the quicker it will resolve.


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