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.