This was an Oprah-like Ah-ha! Moment. One of those times where a light bulb clearly goes on.
Two senior leaders I’ve been working with recently have realized the power of storytelling, and especially with those stories that help others get to know them better.
One CEO was self-admittedly against sharing details about himself and his family.
“What does that have to do with business?” he asked one day.
“Everything,” I said.
People want to know who you are before they will listen to what you have to say. And for new leaders in position, all stakeholders wonder, “Who is this person? And why should I believe and follow them?”
Work is Personal
With all the slides and facts and figures and charts and graphs and commitments and acronyms and videos, it’s the stories that people remember and value.
On a recent town hall survey, about one-third of verbatims focused on the CEO’s personal comments. Employees used words like “refreshing” and commented that what she shared was “very different than what I thought I knew about her.” Another said: “How refreshing to have some human element tossed in with business-speak.”
Tell Stories with a Purpose
And these weren’t any old stories. They were stories with a purpose, and a strong connection to the needs of the business.
Hats off to these senior leaders for their willingness to be vulnerable and try something new. You can be sure that integrating stories into their communication is now a standard operating practice.
What’s stopping you from sharing stories as a way to motivate and engage your employees?