The Telling Sustainable Stories short course looked at the power of stories to tackle sustainability challenges , says Ed Gillespie
Karen Dietz's insight:
Love this post about consciously choosing which stories to tell that is slanted toward organizations.
This article comes from Britain, with British references. And some of the examples given are British companies. Hooray! We need more international examples.
Sustainable storytelling for the author here, Ed Gillespie, is all about telling stories that sustain us.
When I use the term 'sustainable storytelling' I mean paying attention to all that is required (i.e. structures and processes) within a business to keep storytelling alive as a sustainable activity over time.
Semantics aside, I really like what Gillespie has to say:
"...stories that empower us as heroes and capture our imaginations inspire and galvanise us into action more effectively than psychologically passive-aggressive narratives that try to guilt or brow-beat us into change."
So true, so true. Leaders and marketers -- take a lesson here.
Enjoy digging into all the links in this article and the examples of sustainable storytelling via Great Britain.
Paul Smith I recently spoke to Paul Smith, who is a consumer research executive, keynote speaker, corporate trainer, and author of Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives that Captivate, Convince, and Inspire (AMACOM Books, August,...
I've been following Dan Schawbel for years and was delighted to find that he recently interviewed colleague Paul Smith at Proctor and Gamble about his new book on storytelling and leadership titled Lead With A Story.
This interview with Paul that Dan conducted is chock full of good information about the need for leaders to develop storytelling as a core competence. And tips on how companies can make storytelling part of their leadership practices.
What I love about Paul's book is his identification of 21 commonleadership challenges where storytelling can help. He based his conclusions on his interviews with 75+ CEOs and executives at companies around the world.
If you want to know more about storytelling and leadership, read this article and then get the book (I have no affiliation with Paul or his publisher).
You will have more tools at your disposal than when you started!
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:
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 storiesfirst, 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.
I just received the story of how Meetup got started in an email today and want to share it with you. It's a wonderful story of community in response to 9/11. There are lots of stories to share about 9/11. Yet in the mono-myth of the hero story that we live in today, we typically only hear stories about individuals. Stories about how communities responded -- the community of heros -- are often overlooked. And we need to hear these stories just as much as the lone hero stories so we know even better how to respond to tragedies and challenges. That's why I love the Meetup story. It's a great business founding story, and it's a great story about community. Enjoy.
I don't write to our whole community often, but this week is special because it's the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and many people don't know that Meetup is a 9/11 baby.
Let me tell you the Meetup story. I was living a couple miles from the Twin Towers, and I was the kind of person who thought local community doesn't matter much if we've got the internet and tv. The only time I thought about my neighbors was when I hoped they wouldn't bother me.
When the towers fell, I found myself talking to more neighbors in the days after 9/11 than ever before. People said hello to neighbors (next-door and across the city) who they'd normally ignore. People were looking after each other, helping each other, and meeting up with each other. You know, being neighborly.
A lot of people were thinking that maybe 9/11 could bring people together in a lasting way. So the idea for Meetup was born: Could we use the internet to get off the internet -- and grow local communities?
We didn't know if it would work. Most people thought it was a crazy idea -- especially because terrorism is designed to make people distrust one another.
A small team came together, and we launched Meetup 9 months after 9/11.
Today, almost 10 years and 10 million Meetuppers later, it's working. Every day, thousands of Meetups happen. Moms Meetups, Small Business Meetups, Fitness Meetups... a wild variety of 100,000 Meetup Groups with not much in common -- except one thing. Every Meetup starts with people simply saying hello to neighbors. And what often happens next is still amazing to me.
They grow businesses and bands together, they teach and motivate each other, they babysit each other's kids and find other ways to work together. They have fun and find solace together. They make friends and form powerful community. It's powerful stuff.
It's a wonderful revolution in local community, and it's thanks to everyone who shows up.
Meetups aren't about 9/11, but they may not be happening if it weren't for 9/11.
9/11 didn't make us too scared to go outside or talk to strangers. 9/11 didn't rip us apart. No, we're building new community together!!!!
The towers fell, but we rise up. And we're just getting started with these Meetups.
Scott Heiferman (on behalf of 80 people at Meetup HQ) Co-Founder & CEO, Meetup New York City September 2011"
What sets #university leaders apart from peers in business? Storytelling - @UniofAdelaide's Warren Bebbington http://t.co/iYJpxJhESq
Karen Dietz's insight:
I love this article because it is a terrific story about how a leaderdiscovered the origins of his organization. And then through storytelling ignited excitement and shifted their branding.
His conclusion? Yep -- storytelling is essential for organizational leaders. And I'll add that it's essential for anyone in business.
Another reason I like the article because it is a good example of how someone used storytelling to make a difference and create change. I bet after reading it you'll get ideas for how you can do this too.
StoryLab is a new hub for innovation with a big aim: to radically improve public conversation in the U.S. and around the world. Everybody talks about it, but CDS actually knows how to do it.
To change the world, you first have to change the story.
Here is an organization I think everyone should know about -- the Center for Digital Storytelling (CDS). They have been, and continue to provide world-class training in digital storytelling grounded in the power of a story dynamics to make a difference.
They are launching a new project -- StoryLab -- which aims to engage people in changing stories that keep us stuck, limited -- like our political discourse, violence, aids, etc. -- and expressing those stories that eliven and enoble us. Truly great work.
So why am I curating this and what has it got to do with business? Well -- imagine applying these same principles and ideas to the stories you share about your business, engaging your organization in this kind of deep story sharing that changes the world, and engaging with customers to create profound partnerships that make a difference.
Hmmmm -- I think there are lots of opportunities here and StoryLab is showing us the way.
The video on the StoryLab page also mentions supporting the project through donations. That is up to you. I have no affiliation with the Center other than our mutual love of story and its transformative power, and an amazing conversation I had a few years ago with founder Joe Lambert.
IMHO, thank heavens they are doing this project. There are so many others in the field of story that also work with story for transformative change. Let's keep hooking up. It is in this spirit that I bring you StoryLab.
TED Talks William Ury, author of "Getting to Yes," offers an elegant, simple (but not easy) way to create agreement in even the most difficult situations -- from family conflict to, perhaps, the Middle East.
How do you end war and conflict? By finding a different story to share.
While this is not about business storytelling per se, it is a fabulous and inspiring video on the power of a story. Perfect for a little weekend inspiration.
Story sharing has been recognized as one of the most effective tools in peace and justice work.
William Ury talks here about his work negotiating peace in world conflicts and how choosing a different story can make all the difference in the world.
If Ury can do this on a global scale, surely we can take lessons here and apply it to our organizational conflicts, and conflicts in our personal lives.
May this video inspire you to new heights in your storytelling.
By now you’ve surely gotten the memo: Storytelling is 'it' in business and communication today. But places can, and do, tell stories, too."
This is a great article because it is one of those pieces that continues to expand our notion of storytelling and how to apply its principles for more meaningful and richer experiences in our lives.
In this case, how story dynamicsshape our physical environment. I know I've talked about this before and curated at least one other article about this. As one trained in researching and analyzing built environments (vernacular architecture and cultural landscapes), I've known for decades how our mental and social constructs show up as expressions in the buildings and spaces around us.
If we are hard-wired for stories, think in stories, and language in stories, then it makes perfect sense that we build storied environments.Walt Disney knew this and consciously designed his themepark as storied spaces that we move through. The best architects and city/landscape designers know this. Yet all too often we are confronted with buildings and landscapes with no soul. That's a major bummer because those places/spaces do not enliven us, but diminish us in some way.
OK -- off my soap box. Read this short but meaty article about storytelling and workplace design. Then cross your fingers people start paying attention and start designing different kinds of spaces for us!
"When you create a strong brand, creating a memorable story is easy. Opportunities to tell your story begin with your employees and radiate outward. Your story goes viral effortlessly."
So says author Gail Kent and she's right. Whether you have employees or not, her advice for creating your unique brand story is useable for any size business. It has to do with values, passion, standing out.
Gail uses the company Zappos as an example to illustrate her points. And there's a great video to watch where Zappos shares its story.
Read the author's tips and start creating your unique story. Enjoy!
Steve Jobs had a talent for identifying what was important and what was not, and having the courage to toss what he felt was the nonessential. We see this reflected in the Apple line of products and in the Apple...
What an awesome video a great presentation by Steve Jobs on what marketing is really all about -- sharing your story. Here he explains what he means by that, and how clarity about your business values leads to clarity about your story and how to tell it.
This is a gem of a video with inspiration and insights for us all. Read the brief intro and watch the video. Then write down ideas for how to tell your story better.