You are likely at a critical time in your leadership journey. We are emerging from the devastations of a pandemic. The organization you lead needs to be supercharged, perhaps resurrected, certainly inspired and rallied, and maybe even rebranded. You likely need a fresh way of understanding yourself and your firm in order to thrive in the days that are coming.
I want to recommend using a tool you already have in your toolbox: story.
Much of the problem in our fast-paced leadership lives is that we see reality and we present reality in bits and pieces. We offer data, not information. We grasp facts, but not knowledge. In short, we often don’t have a handle on the narrative arc, the tale, the broad meaning that thinking in terms of story would give us.
I urge every leader I know to tell me their story and the story of their firm in a fairly tight narrative. Most can’t. It means they don’t see the big picture, they haven’t grasped the “plot” of their lives and of their firm’s forward movement. This hurts them. It leaves them frustrated with partial understanding of who they are and what they are about. It also hinders their ability to communicate their purpose.
Story is what is often missing. The narrative. The plot. The arc of your history and that of your firm. Do you know it? Can you tell it? Put another way, can you movingly recount the drama of who you are and what your firm is accomplishing in the world?
Story is important because it is the best way for human beings to organize information. Also, brain scientists now tell us that absorbing information through story taxes the brain less than absorbing facts any other way. Meaning is taken in the most effortless way, understood more fully, and retained longer when it is embedded in story.
Great leaders have understood this. Think of Reagan. Think of Churchill.
I want you to start thinking in terms of story in what you do. And get some help. I recommend StoryBrand, a firm my friend Don Miller (Blue Like Jazz author) has founded and which has become tremendously successful in getting leaders to use story. I have, by the way, no financial connection to StoryBrand, nor does Don know I’m urging you his way. I’m trying to help you, not sell a product.
StoryBrand will tell you that there are seven basic parts of most stories and thus most movie plots or novel arcs.
There is a character. We’ll call this person the hero.
He or She has a problem.
They meet a guide.
Who gives them a plan.
And calls them to action
That results in failure…
Don’s firm helps people at every level—PR execs, politicians, authors, scriptwriters, etc.—think in terms of this time-honored narrative structure. It changes them. Makes them understand themselves differently. Makes them communicate more powerfully. Allows them to inspire, motivate, inform—and rise!
Whether you take advantage of the StoryBrand mentoring or not, get good at story and the kind of story that identifies purpose, destiny, mission, and meaning. You are going to need this powerful tool to take yourself and your firm where you need to go now.