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Just Story It! Biz Storytelling
Growing executive's impact, influence and income through the power of business storytelling                  www.juststoryit.com  619-235-0052
Curated by Karen Dietz
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Want Success? Make Your Brand Aspirational, Not Inspirational W/ A Future Story

Want Success? Make Your Brand Aspirational, Not Inspirational W/ A Future Story | Just Story It! Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
Companies that ditch tired celebrity personas and transform themselves into vehicles for realizing their customers' aspirations will transcend single...
Karen Dietz's insight:

When I read this post today I immediately thought about a particular story every business needs to craft and tell, but is often unrecognized or forgotten. That's your Future Story about your aspiration.


This article written by Charlie Brown lays out the reasoning for emphasizing "aspiration" instead of "inspiration.


For years I've been encouraging clients to develop this story as part of their core set. Your future story is all about what you aspire to create -- how your product or service, you and your customers, are making a better world. How is the future going to be different because of you/your company? That's what inquiring minds want to know.


Lots of our business stories can be inspirational. But the future story is all about aspiration. Brown makes this distinction clear and his insights are right on. I love the additional thoughts and tips he shares.


But what is a Future Story? They are hard to come by on the web. Your Future Story is shared through stories showing your commitment to something greater than yourself/your company's offerings. Think Nike or Patagonia.


What is one Just Story It aspiration/future story? Here it is:

"Monday evening I'm sitting in the staff lounge of Just In Time For Foster Youth with 2 young women in their early 20s. At 18 they were emancipated from foster care with all of their possessions in a black plastic garbage bag. Just In Time stepped in to help them get stable with housing, furnishings, school supplies, transportation...whatever they needed. We were working on their stories -- about life in foster care and their road to success. As we worked on these stories, we laugh and cry together. We find the paths to share their stories in ways that work best for them.


These are often gut-wrenching stories to work with. Pain and sorrow mix with joy and triumph. Yet these young people are committed to telling their stories to help guide other foster youth, advocate for a better system, combat stereotypes, raise funds so more foster youth can be helped, and to encourage more volunteers. I am so moved by their bravery and resilience, and so proud of each and every one of them. I watch them move through terrible experiences no person -- much less a child -- should go through, and transform into more confident bright stars.

The story reflects the future I want to create:  through the power of storytelling to break down barriers, remove stereotypes, heal wounds, and make strangers friends. To create a future where we experience greater peace between people, full of respect, tolerance, love and helping each other is one worth putting all my passion towards. That is the future I am committed to; that is the future Just Story It works towards. Working together we can make that happen."


Businesses definitely need to get their game on and move into aspiration. What is your aspiration? What future story can you share? Tell me. The world desperately needs to hear them. 


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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Story Doing: CVS' Bold Move to Align Behavior With Values

Story Doing: CVS' Bold Move to Align Behavior With Values | Just Story It! Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
In February, CVS Caremark announced that it would stop selling cigarettes in all of its 7,700 stores and 900 walk-in clinics, effective October 1. The company implemented the change a month ahead of schedule and changed its name to CVS Health to align its brand and purpose of “helping people [...]
Karen Dietz's insight:

Article Link: http://onforb.es/1yHyZVK


Last year a minor splash occurred when research was released about the difference between storytelling companies and story doing companies: http://www.storydoing.com/welcome 


The research was pretty flawed but the endeavor is a noble -- and important -- one.


This post is all about CVS drugstore's move to stop selling cigarettes in its stores (eliminating $2 billion in profit) because doing so is inconsistent with a company promoting health.


It seems CVS is becoming a story doing company. The article goes into more of the story behind the move, and then talks about the power of aligning values with actions for companies -- as a long-term strategy (versus continuing to cell cigarettes as a short-term tactic).


It's a good read and hopefully will inspire all of us to get better at aligning values with actions, or being a better watchdog making sure they stay well matched.


The bottom line -- way better storytelling. You get to tell better stories, employees will start sharing these stories of alignment, customers will share your stories more because they love it when a company walks its talk, and customer acquisition goes up.


Now what's not to like about that?


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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Great examples to follow of 'customer as hero' stories from Southwest Airlines

From our very beginning, Southwest Airlines has been a maverick in the airline and Customer Service industries. We set ourselves apart every single day by de...
Karen Dietz's insight:

Here's a 13 minute video from Southwest Airlines that my biz storytelling colleagues Paul Smith and David Hutchens found and shared on Facebook. It is a fabulous example of how customer stories convey an organization's values, vision, and mission.


And there is something else here that Southwest does really well -- most of the stories are NOT so much about the company. Instead, the customers are the heroes. In other words, many of the stories are about something important happening in the customer's life and Southwest happened to be the vehicle for it. 


Sharing stories where the customer is the hero requires quite a mind shift. So here are some really good examples in the video. Watch, learn, and craft your own stories in similar ways.


For some additional insights check out Mark Goldman's comment to my Facebook post about the video.


I'm looking forward to my upcoming trips on Southwest. If you fly that airline, you too may have some stories to share.


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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Burning Man: Its Wonderful, Weird Economy and Links to Story

Burning Man: Its Wonderful, Weird Economy and Links to Story | Just Story It! Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
Burners spend thousands preparing for the money-free event. But just as the desert community cannot fully escape capitalism, neither can capitalism remain untouched by the "gift economy."
Karen Dietz's insight:

Burning Man is happening right now and it's on my bucket list to go to there. Why? Well for one, think of all the awesome stories I'll be able to tell afterward!


But that is not the only reason. I want to go to Burning Man so I can experience/learn more about the ethos and logos of community, values in action, and how the future may look/feel through different economic values that I see emerging today. 


Burning Man is a week-long art event that happens in a totally desolate desert with sandstorms and no water. You pack in all you need. And you pack out everything you generate.


What has this event got to do with storytelling though? Because what I see in Burning Man are the basic tenets of storytelling. Not how to tell a good story. But what principles underpin great storytelling.


Here are the basic principles of Burning Man and the link to storytelling:

  1. Make real connections with people instead of only commercial connections. What counts is connection at the event, not commodity. The highest leverage point in biz storytelling is making connections that keep people devoted to your product/service over time. Not "I tell you a story; you buy my product" short term transactions.
  2. Create something for the collective reward. We swap meaningful stories ultimately to share our wisdom, knowledge, lessons, inspirations which elevate all of us together. This is often what drives the best of the best storytellers.
  3. Invest in a product/service/org for the joy it will bring you and other people. Invest because it is beautiful, not ONLY because a profit exists (think Steve Jobs & Apple). We share stories because of the joy and beauty they bring to ourselves and others, not ONLY because of profits to realize.
  4. Giving and gifting is the culture of Burning Man. The best storytelling emerges when you think of your story as a gift you offer others. In both cases you are feeding souls, not stomachs.
  5. At Burning Man people create awe inspiring art to share. People dream, convene, create, and make. Storytelling is a creative act that also harnesses this same power in the same way. Crafting a story is not a plot or story structure you cram yourself into.
  6. Burning Man can help folks shift, change, and reset back in daily life. Stories can do the exact same thing.
  7. Burning Man is able to not lose its authenticity as it grows bigger. I want to learn that so stories don't lose their authenticity as audiences and connections grow bigger.


Now back to the article -- this is a fascinating story about Burning Man and the values they focus on. It's a terrific example of values in action and how values shape culture. There are good lessons here for all of us in leadership, living values, and org storytelling.


This is a great read to enjoy. Maybe next year I'll get there!


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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A New Year's Resolution to Make You Happy + Live a Different Story

A New Year's Resolution to Make You Happy + Live a Different Story | Just Story It! Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
Tired of New Year's Resolutions that fail? Try this new kind of goal-setting approach for 2014.
Karen Dietz's insight:

It's New Year's eve here in the US (New Year's day in other parts of the world) and time to refocus for 2014.


Here's a lovely article about a few different New Year's resolutions that will dramatically change your life. And give you way better stories to share.


Enjoy and happy New Year. May 2014 rock your world in all good ways.


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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The Rice Process's curator insight, December 31, 2013 5:41 PM

Well worth the read. 

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Want to Reach More Humans? Try Sounding Like One (via Storytelling)

Want to Reach More Humans? Try Sounding Like One (via Storytelling) | Just Story It! Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
There are a lot of smart business leaders out there. They come up with brilliant products, develop amazing technologies and help customers solve their most complex problems.
Karen Dietz's insight:

I scooped this article because it's a great reminder with a very simple message -- drop the corporate speak; don't focus on pushing messages to folks; just show up, be real, and my addition: focus on story sharing.


Stories aren't mentioned in this article, yet they are your vehicle to building trust, being authentic, conveying complex information with simple elegance, all while being humble. And this is what the article talks about.


A lot of the storytelling articles I'm reading lately are still focused on using stories as a push technology to broadcast messages to people. That is old hat. We are now in another world where it is finally recognized that stories are a pull technology (they pull people into your world) AND that stories told evoke stories in the minds of listeners that they want to share back with you. So story sharing needs to be the focus these days.


This article helps us get our head straight about that. It's a quick read with terrific insights and tips to share. Happy reading!


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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malek's curator insight, December 18, 2013 2:16 PM

I like the idea of a mom as your ltimus test, if she got it, the whole world will go after you.

Brent MacKinnon's curator insight, December 21, 2013 7:24 AM

I like the emphasis on trust building and being authentic.

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A Company’s Quest To Bring Mindfulness To Black Friday

A Company’s Quest To Bring Mindfulness To Black Friday | Just Story It! Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
The Friday after Thanksgiving, stores will have major sales, and customers will flock to them in droves.
Karen Dietz's insight:

Now here's a story about a company creating a different kind of story and brand for itself. Instead of jumping into the holiday shopping frenzy -- especially on the recent Black Friday -- Holstee went dark. 


It's there version of the new black :) But it beautifully fit their values and what the company stands for.


This type of step might not be you. However, it is a terrific example of how a company is acting on its values -- and creating a new kind of story and brand for itself.


So I ask you -- no matter what size your business is -- how can you translate your values and what you stand for into a story about the biz that distinguishes you in the marketplace?


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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Giving Thank$: A Moving Money $tory

Giving Thank$: A Moving Money $tory | Just Story It! Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
Do you live in a bubble? Perhaps you live in a community where financial success is pretty much assumed. Where no one talks about money or hardship. Perhaps they even look at money as a symbol of their success. It's a bubble. Meet Sam, who lived in that bubble, but never let [...]
Karen Dietz's insight:

I was shopping yesterday for a dining room table cover and an orange for the cranberry sauce that I forgot earlier in the week. All in preparation for our special Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow with family. 


But of course, every story was playing Christmas music, hawking Christmas decorations, and urging us to buy buy buy. We are swamped with holiday catalogs plus ads for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.


But the consumerism and materialism can be overwhelming and sometimes it's hard to focus on what's really important.


So instead of curating a piece about some new holiday ad that tells a story so we will buy that product, I've been searching for something different that connects us again to this season of gratitude.


And I found it! Enjoy the story in this post that helps us reframe money, materialism, and the experience of everyday grace.


I am so grateful for all of my wonderful, thoughtful, creative, curious, and fun-loving readers. Thank you for all of your input, comments, questions, ideas, stories, and sharing. You all rock.


I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving season and let's keep telling great stories :)

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Russell Roberts's curator insight, November 27, 2014 11:46 AM

Here's something nice for the holiday season, courtesy of business storyteller Karen Dietz.  Sometimes, we can rise above our circumstances, even when "we have it all."  A good read. Enjoy!  Aloha, Russ.

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Storytelling Implications: Appealing To Values, Not Attitudes

Storytelling Implications: Appealing To Values, Not Attitudes | Just Story It! Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
In any industry, some of the most successful new business ideas are the most radical. But these are also the most likely to fail, fast. Having a proposition that goes against the prevailing view can be game-changing; if you can get people to agree with you. And there’s the hard [...]
Karen Dietz's insight:

Here's something to think about over the weekend -- when you are sharing your stories is your objective to change attitudes or values?


Turns out the answer could make a world of difference for you if you want to be more successful.


For many years I wrote about values (personal and organization), did workshops about them, and diagnosed companies regarding them. Here is part of what I taught:  values generate beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes. But the foundation is always a person's values.


So if you really want to fundamentally change yourself -- or facilitate change in someone else -- look to values.


This article does a handy job of explaining all of this and shares some important research from 2012 about circumventing resistance.


Bottom line for storytelling: craft your stories to address values, not simply attitudes. If you do so, you will rock the world.


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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The Role of Storytelling: What Leadership Looks Like In 20 Years

The Role of Storytelling: What Leadership Looks Like In 20 Years | Just Story It! Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
Let’s face it, most of us are addicted technology futurists. Who doesn’t enjoy speculating about what technology marvels will be commonplace in the coming decades? Will it be 3D printing? Artificial intelligence? “Singularity”? All are buzzwords of the emerging technology future. But what about leadership? If we don’t get leadership right, [...]
Karen Dietz's insight:

Here is another article on leadership that will help us chart our future and create it well.


Heaven knows, just looking at the news headlines these days reminds us how critical leadership is. And I'm not just talking at the political level. Nor am I talking about leadership at the big corporate level. I'm talking about leadership at YOUR level -- no matter where you are in your career or professional life. We are all required to be leaders today in some way, shape or form, whether we work alone or with others.


So what skills do we need to cultivate now to be awesome in the next 20? This article covers them.


Out of the 6 discussed, 4 are related to storytelling:

  1. Questions Not Answers. Effective business storytelling is NOT about 'telling'. It's about evoking stories from others and listening. Then sharing a story in return. That's the exact opposite of what is usually taught however. In order to really leverage story as a leader, it's all about mastering the Art Of The Question. Knowing the right kinds of questions to ask when is one of the secrets to the universe. No kidding. You 'gotta master this one.
  2. Employee Pull. Story is a pull technology, not a push technology. Stories pull people into your world. If you are still relating to storytelling as a push technology -- let me tell you a story so I can push my message to you -- cut it out. Pivot and work with stories as a pull technology so you are working with modern 21st Century skills.
  3. Customer Pull. Ditto #2
  4. Purpose. Got a purpose for your company that creates a positive impact on the planet? In order for Purpose to come alive, to capture the hearts/minds of people, story is your #1 vehicle for getting the job done. Get this under your belt today so you are propelled past others who are late to the game.


There are 2 other skills the author talks about in this post. For me they are long on concepts and short on examples or how-to. But they are good signposts to keep on the radar screen and find more articles research on.


OK -- I'm off to client meetings. While I'm gone doing my story thing, read the insights from this article (of which there are many) so you can start preparing today for your leadership of tomorrow.


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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Jerry Busone's curator insight, August 28, 2014 8:07 AM

Good spin and interesting 

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Maya Angelou, Business Storytelling, and Being Human

Maya Angelou, Business Storytelling, and Being Human | Just Story It! Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it

An interview with Maya Angelou.

Karen Dietz's insight:

I was so sad yesterday when I heard about Maya Angelou's passing. I've always enjoyed reading and watching her. From her I always learned more about humanity, dignity, courage, and character.


When I found this HBR post yesterday of an interview with her, I was delighted. The interviewer/author Alison Beard even talks with Maya about business storytelling.The interview is quintessential Angelou and I know you'll enjoy it. 


There is a little-known book in my library that I treasure for its wisdom -- Facing Evil; Light at the Core of Darkness (1989) -- that Maya (and many other amazing people) contributed to. Some of my favorite passages from her essay are, "We must remember the great struggle between majestic forces -- that that struggle introduces a dynamic into our intellect and into our souls. We are required to develop courage to care...We need the courage to create ourselves daily, to be bodacious enough to create ourselves daily as Christians, as Jews, as Muslims, as thinking, caring, laughing, loving human beings. (pg 29) Now wherever that lives in us--whether it's in the bend of the elbow, behind the kneecap--wherever that lives, there dwells the nobleness in the human spirit. Not nobility. I don't trust the word. I think it's pompous. But the nobleness is in the human spirit. It is seen in the fact that we rise to good, we do rise."


Angelou's view of story was in its power to unite. The end of her poem "Human Family" says, "We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike." (from I Shall Not Be Moved)


Enjoy this article honoring one great lady, and the inspiration that lies waiting for you.


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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Halima Ozimova's curator insight, May 31, 2014 2:53 AM

Warm Words about the passed CELEBRITY...

Sushma Sharma's curator insight, June 16, 2014 5:35 AM

She was an artist 

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Stories -- Ask Your Mom (& Friends) For Some This Holiday

Karen Dietz's insight:

If you click on the title of this post it will take you to the PDF of this Wall Street Journal article.


The holidays are a perfect time to gather and share stories with friends and family members. I really liked this article because it was a great reminder to collect and preserve your family history, and the reasons why it's important to do so. And there are other tips/thoughts shared in the post.


While the article focuses on family, I also include friends -- because friends are a vital part of our social lives and contribute to our well being. When I facilitlate storytelling practices with executives who have worked closely with each other for years, I always hear, "I didn't know that about you!" So think about asking for stories from friends and colleagues too this season.


Having lost my Mom in 1991, my Dad a few years ago, and my step-mom this year, I really wish I had asked for more stories. As I continue to sift through papers, documents, and photos from their lives I am left with more questions than answers. And I wish I'd know more about my friends who have also departed.


May you ask for and find some terrific stories this holiday that contribute to a life well lived.


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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Branding: 10 Strategies for Living Your Core Values (Stories)

Branding: 10 Strategies for Living Your Core Values (Stories) | Just Story It! Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it
How businesses can take their beliefs and make them real for consumers.
Karen Dietz's insight:

What a terrific article this is! There is so much talk these days (finally) about not only telling stories, but living the stories you tell. In other words, walking your talk.


Companies have always been faced with this, but in today's marketplace the stakes are higher and so is the demand from customers that businesses live what they believe in -- not just espouse stuff.


This article by Jessica Blotter covers great ground, giving 10 activities to pay attention to. And she includes specific examples to back up her points!


Many of these steps connect with storytelling. Such as: be human and express your humanity. And 'your story must transcend technology' -- meaning there needs to be a social impact (positive) that your business is having on the world. Another activity is to make sure customers are the celebrity of your brand story. In other words, the stories are not really about you, they are about them.


There are 7 other great strategies to read about. I won't give away all the activities. But I know you'll resonate with them as you read the article. And it will give you specific ideas for what you might want to do next.


This review was written by Karen Dietz for the Just Story It curation on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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Karen Dietz's comment, October 19, 2013 9:43 PM
Patricia, so glad you find the article helpful. Hope you are well!
Karen Dietz's comment, October 19, 2013 9:45 PM
Hans, you are so right -- it's not only about your product, but about what a company stands for. The article I curated today on 3 New Story Types also addresses this. Thanks for commenting!
Karen Dietz's comment, October 19, 2013 9:53 PM
Hey Jim -- I'm so glad the article really stands out for you. And I agree wholeheartedly with your comments. Would you believe I've been working with 1 client for 2 years and it's not about storytelling yet -- we are focusing about improving the organization internally so they will be able to tell a story that they live. We are almost ready to focus on storytelling as an organizational strategy. It's fascinating work. And rare, to your points above. Check out the other article I curated today on 3 new stories to tell. It's based on new research that's been released about the bottom line benefits for an organization that lives its stories. It's much better than the ''story doing' research that was released a few months ago.
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Your Values Through Stories...Corporate Storytelling | Douglas magazine

Your Values Through Stories...Corporate Storytelling | Douglas magazine | Just Story It! Biz Storytelling | Scoop.it

This article has some great examples/tips for crafting and using business stories that convey your key values.


There's only a minor tweak I would make.  The author says, "When you think you have come up with your core value statements about your company, add “for instance” and add a corporate story:..."


The sentiments are all correct, but the steps are backward.  Core value statements come out of your stories.  And then when presenting your company, it's story first, then naming your values last.  It goes like this:

"Story

  Story

  Story

And I share with you these 3 stories because they illustrate our commitment to [the values imbedded in the stories]"


If you lead with a core values statement like the author suggests, you will be using your stories to 'prove' the statement.  When you share your stories first, you are 'demonstrating' how you embody the values you hold dear.  These are two very different experiences for your audience.


So switch the steps, read the article and grab the examples -- they are well worth it.

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