It is a mistake to believe that stories can create change or make it happen. The root of this bond is that leaders can ‘make’ people change to do new things in new ways. The fact is, nothing is further from the truth. If your leadership style becomes punitive, consider changing it. It is rapidly going out of style in the 2020s. Use a story to draw people to your ideas in a way that allows you to make important discoveries about yourself and see your role in creating a better future. At Storyminers, we believe leaders must take on the extra burden of defining the future more clearly. This makes it easier for employees to imagine themselves in a future that suits them, serves them, and where they can make their most valuable contributions. Think of a story more like a magnet and less like a whip.
As a leader, consider that the change you are looking for has already taken place. Picture yourself in that future period and then look back to today. Your story should paint a clearer picture to your team members about how they can relate to the future you envision (albeit metaphorically). Your story should give them clarity and a reason to believe. It should anticipate their questions and help them understand what the changes they are about to experience will mean to them. Suppose you create your story to be an experience about discovering something more powerful about yourself; in that case, you will win the follower you seek.
Remember you are not the hero. Your people are. Your story is a way for them to see and understand this, so believe it. Once you do, there will be almost nothing you can’t achieve.
Takeaway: Map out your experience before writing your story.
A journey map is a representation of how customers flow through your business. You can express it to understand current state problems and create future state solutions. Journey maps put everyone on the same page (literally). With a journey map, you can see where customers are, or what they’re trying to do, and how the company supports them (or not). Journey maps also provide valuable information about how others feel. This is important because emotional ups and downs often trace your story arc.
As customer demands increase, they add higher levels of personalization. This is difficult for most companies because it’s difficult to coordinate all the internal elements. Using a journey map can make this process much more manageable. You can show each step of a customer’s journey with your company. This makes it easier for different departments to align their processes, metrics, expectations and handoffs. When you create a story to accompany your journey map, it can help everyone adjust their part of the business to meet customer needs. This story can inform everyone about how they need to make decisions, exchanges, and provide insight into their emotions.
When everyone shares the same understanding of the customer, it’s easy to deliver a better experience while reducing costs. Combining journey maps with a story is powerful.