Storytelling in driving change

It’s a misconception to believe that stories can drive change or make it happen. The root of that belief is that leaders can ‘make’ people change to do new things in new ways. The fact is that nothing is farther from the truth. If your leadership style is punitive, consider changing it. It’s rapidly going out of fashion in the 2020s. Use a story to draw people toward your ideas in a way that allows them to make important discoveries about themselves and see their role in creating a better future. At Storyminers, we believe that leaders should take on the extra burden of defining the future with greater clarity. That makes it easier for employees to imagine themselves in a future that fits 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 happened. Imagine yourself in that future timeframe, then look back over your shoulder toward today. Your story should paint a clearer picture for your team members about how they can identify with 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 craft your story to be an experience about discovering something more powerful about themselves, then, in that case, you will win the followership you seek.

Remember, you are not the hero. Your people are. Your story is a way for them to see and understand that, then believe. Once they do, there will be almost nothing you can’t achieve.


Take-away: Map your experience before you write your story.

A journey map is a representation of how customers flow through your business. You can use it to understand current-state issues and create future-state solutions. Journey maps get everyone on the same page (literally). With a journey map, you can see where customers are, what they’re trying to do, and how the business supports them (or not). Journey maps also provide valuable insight into how others feel. That’s important because emotional ups and downs often trace your story’s arc.

As customers’ demands rise, they expect higher levels of personalization. That’s hard for most businesses to achieve because coordinating all of the inside elements is difficult. Using a journey map can make that process much more manageable. You can show each step in a customer’s journey with your business. That makes it easy for different departments to align their processes, metrics, expectations, and hand-offs. When you create a story to accompany your journey map, it can help everyone tune their portion of the business to meet customers’ needs. That story can inform everyone about how individuals make decisions, trade-offs and give insights into their emotions.
When everyone shares the same understanding of the customer, it’s easy to deliver a better experience while reducing costs. The combination of journey maps with a story is potent.

This article is part of Luminary Learning Solutions‘ Guru Guide. You can read the full guide here.

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