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The Power Of Storytelling In Transformational Leadership

You are a leader of a technology company, your team needs a change in their operating methods. How do you get buy-in for change? Improve your storytelling skill with these skills.

Normally companies are transformative change driven by advancement technology. What’s very common is, ‘Here’s what we’re doing. Here’s the technology. Isn’t it wonderful?’. However, not all of the users and investors are inspired by technology by itself, they are more interested in the results that they can get from the new products. 

Take one example from one of the most successful CEOs in the technology sector, Elon Musk. He has amazingly inspired millions of people to embrace logic and science. How did he do that? He made himself an extraordinary storyteller by living a story worth telling and tackling some of the world’s biggest challenges. Musk created a vision fueled by his passion for discovering the universe and creating a better world that motivates his employees to work the grueling 80-100 hour weeks.

Here’s his advice for turning a technological transformation into a story that will capture people’s hearts and minds.

   1. If you’re not a good storyteller, get some help

Most Technology/IT professionals aren’t great at narrative. If you don’t know how to do that, don’t do it alone. Find someone within your organization who is good at telling stories. “You often know who they are already from casual conversations,” he says. If no one comes to mind, consider asking for help from your organization’s marketing or public relations team since storytelling is part of their skill set. Strong storytellers can coach you on how to shape your narrative and deliver it.

   2. Talk to the people who talk to customers

The story you want to tell must be related to the customer’s benefit. So get input from people who interact with your company’s customers and know their concerns. Use that information to change the description of a benefit into a customer-centered story.

For example, your business wants to deliver a product that shortens the delivery time from within 1 day to 12 hours from the time of order, instead of communicating directly like that, tell a story. Imagine the happiness on their face when they place an order while at work and when they come home and see the package, and describe that feeling to the customer.

   3. Take a similar approach with employees

Although most transformative changes directly affect customers, some are more about increasing the employee’s performance. For example, good leaders should not be too direct about their employees being underproductive, but instead, give stories about how when the change can help they finish work faster, and maybe they can spend more time on their own life.

   4. Don’t skip the pain points

Don’t make your narrative all about the positives, or you risk losing your audience. People often have a certain distrust of new and unfamiliar things,  ‘This is the sunshine story, but what’s the flip side?’. And of course, there is a flip side. Every transformative change brings some pain and inconvenience. Be sure to cover those pain points and have your story illustrate how to deal with them.

It’s also a good idea to throw in an element of the unexpected if you can.

   5. Consider diversity

It’s important to keep diversity in mind when putting together your storyline. Particularly if you have multiple target audiences, be mindful of creating a story that includes as many audiences interests as possible. If your audience finds that they cannot identify them in your story, they will ignore the entire content you want to convey. This can lead to a chain reaction that causes more people to give up on you. It is truly difficult to translate strategic goals or operational directives into something that has meaning and touches everyone personally. But, it is a task worth the struggle and one that is achievable.

   6. K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple and Sweet

Sometimes the temptation to make several points in one story or to tell multiple stories is overwhelming. There are so many important ideas that you want to convey to your organization and so few opportunities to be in front of everyone. But, the reality is that most people can only process two to three ideas at a time. By overwhelming your listeners with too many messages, they end up remembering none of them. Pick one good story with a clear and relevant message. Choose it carefully, practice it until it is perfect, and tell it well.

   7. Do a test run

Once you have your story worked out, do a test run before you put it on stage. Reach out to people on the front lines of your organization, and recruit a group you can trust to give you truly honest feedback. Once you can capture the heart of a small group, you will gain the confidence to make it in front of everyone.

According to Enterprise Project




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