Stories as Drivers of Engagement and Innovation
Stories may be truths wrapped in roses, rainbows, and rhythm, but they also create the future–that which is possible and which can indeed be beautiful.
When organizations slow down or arrive at a difficult bend in their developmental journey, people within the organization need hope. They need new dreams and fresh inspiration. Success stories from the past empower us, but it is the stories into the future–stories yet to be lived–that catapult us into action and success.
These words are etched on the mental corridors of workers in this company that supplies milk and milk derivatives to nearly half the world.
Individuals are shaped by different experiences yet our shared values enable us to combine our strengths to make us innovative and successful. There are just four simple truths that guide us: spirit of co-operation, doing what is right, challenging boundaries, and making it happen.
These values are images that are colorful and crystal-clear to the farmers and managers of Fonterra of New Zealand. The clarity and vividness make these values a dynamic living image. It is the vision and the story that serves as the springboard for creating an unfolding future, a future they continue to create.
Made up of over 400 members, this co-operative has been around for over a hundred years. They have been steadily growing for decades and have consistently and continuously become efficient and innovative. Why? Because where they have come from is clear in this organization, and where they are heading to, is just as crystal clear.
The vivid, colorful story of the future in their minds drives them to easily implement relevant changes every day. The living, dynamic, future-projected story is a compelling magnet. It becomes a self-driven desire to change rather than something that the organization members need to be cajoled and pushed into. Furthermore, this story of their future is easily communicated and has the potential of naturally turning viral in the organization.
As a leader, in any position, of an organization if you’d like your people to stay engaged, empowered and enthused…
- Pick out a colorful incident from the history of your organization. If it was about a person, a member of your organization who drove change then tell it from the perspective of how her beliefs and actions impacted profits of the company.
- Pick out the period when one of your companies’ product had made it well in the market-place, then tell the story about the persons behind the ideation, the design, the production and the promotion of the product. Why and how did the product do well because of these people.
- Pick out a project from past which succeeded rip-roaringly then tell the story about the values and the purpose of the whole organization that made it such a success.
This is a process of blending two different things to build a story that inspires and drive up the overall performance of your organizations.
Hope you like it. It is taken from my book, the HeART of STORY, and is an integral part of a workshop I run on Corporate Storytelling.
Author, Coach and Trainer
www.mandhyan.com Unleashing Inherent Excellence!
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