The ‘story’ of your business: can you tell it?

July 6, 2020
By Rowan Belchers

“A well told story … is the only persuasion tactic we don’t have a good defence for.”  BJ Hogg, author of Tiny Habits

I like what BJ has to say about a ‘well-told story’ being such a powerful tool to gain influence over people.

Many CEOs I work with relegate their internal communications to the very bottom of their leadership priority list. This is astonishing to me as excellent internal comms will give you 10x more value and performance than poring over financials. Yet, in many organisations, the creativity and quality of thoughts given to internal comms is close to zero.

Let me reframe ‘internal communication’ upfront. It’s not about updates or instructions or course-corrections or admonishments or the sharing of spreadsheets. That’s just a news feed: it’s not a story and it won’t influence people.

I often compare business to a Shakespearean drama as there is intrigue in spades in the corporate environment if you take the time to seek it out. It is a pantomime playing out right in front of our noses but only if we’re tuned in to seeing it this way.

So, let’s think about your story. A few questions to consider:

  • What difference are you making in the world?
  • Where are the opportunities for people to be heroes?
  • What is about to happen that you can create hype around?
  • Which elements are intriguing, yet-to-determined, or up in the air?
  • Are you near the beginning, middle or end of your story?
  • What are the exciting parts to amplify?

Move away from the updating (which I’m sure you do well) and allow yourself and others to see their work story for what it is: a never-ending set of linked experiences that can be reframed into an engaging and extraordinary story.

If you create an adventure, your team will become adventurers who are willing to put in the discretionary effort we as CEOs all seek.

Rowan Belchers

Rowan Belchers

Rowan is the founder and CEO of Lockstep, a business leadership consultancy. Lockstep works with CEO’s, executive teams and future leaders globally, partnering with clients who seek customised leadership solutions. Rowan is a highly respected advisor to CEOs with over two decades’ experience in guiding businesses and their leaders towards reaching their fullest potential. Rowan leads The CEO Project, a Lockstep initiative.
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