The Power of Stories in the Corporate Environment
Campaign stories, success stories, life stories, the corporate history, motivational stories, problem solving stories, inspirational stores - there are so many useful story forms that businesses and corporations can access and utilise.
|Shared storytelling has a number of applications that warrant consideration by organisational members, managers, and practitioners.
The key to understanding stories can be found in the narrative structure - character, setting, problem and resolution. Just about all stories, true or fictional, can be interpreted in this way.
The human brain is wired to work with patterns of information and variations in patterns. Humans make good use of the narrative pattern in stories. We engage with them, relate them to previous stories weve heard, remember them easily and retell them when appropriate.
|- characters who come alive through interesting description and quotes;
- settings that the reader can remember long after they have read the story because they have been described in just enough detail;
- a problem or issue that needed to be overcome and that the audience can understand on an emotional level;
- a solution or a resolution to the problem that makes a significant difference.
Collecting stories & building relationships
Collecting project stories is an effective way of evaluating projects especially with regard to the human elements such as motivation and commitment of project teams. This process can bring submerged issues to the surface allowing new corporate learning. Retelling the stories of shared experiences whether pleasant or painful is also an effective way to build and maintain relationships.
Just as important however, are the informal stories that are being told about an organisation by customers and staff. The emotion being expressed in these stories can tell so much.
- describe and bring characters alive
- provide enough detail of a setting so listeners/readers can imagine themselves there
- include emotions, problems, challenges and dreams
- tie up loose ends so that the stories feel resolved for the listener or reader.
Sometimes however modelling is not enough to overcome culturalisation about not being creative or expressive that is so common in society today. So a storyteller comes equipped with a range of tools for establishing safety and for helping contributors to access their stories. The most important of these is being a good active, acknowledging listener. Telling stories under these conditions becomes an enjoyable and empowering experience for the participant. Enabling these stories to become published, distributed and celebrated provides valuable lessons and organisational resources for communities and corporations.
Storytelling is also an effective way to present complex reports for planning and decision making. Stories are like road maps. They provide a way of codifying information at the level of complexity necessary for the specific journey or scenario. They are infinitely flexible and adaptable to the need at hand. Findings can be encapsulated into the narrative form and presented in entertaining and thought provocative ways to planners and decision makers.
Present a problem or a set of results in an appropriate story form and it allows the listener or reader to leave the logical left hand brain in neutral for a while and go off on a creative right hand brain exploration of the possibilities. What the storyteller understands is what is an appropriate story for a particular audience and how to tell it so they can relax, suspend judgement and creatively enjoy the ride.
Stories reveal. Stories motivate. Stories bind individuals into teams.
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Daryll Bellingham, Storyteller