Page 7 - VOICE December 2014

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Becoming a Better Storyteller
One of the biggest stumbling blocks to building a
more story-focused culture is the simple fact that
so many managers aren’t supported to undertake
this role. They don’t know how and
they worry they aren’t good at telling
stories – so they don’t. This is some-
thing Jane believes is less about being
the perfect Storyteller and more about
creating the right story. As she says,
“There is absolutely nothing wrong
with ‘picking up’ a great story you
might have heard from another col-
league or in a book or on the TV – and
using it to create a version that fits for you.
I always encourage managers to make a point of
jotting down snippets and stories into a notebook
and to refer to them for inspiration and triggers to
build the right story for them.”
Using metaphors and analogies
A really effective way to super-charge stories is to
add metaphors and analogies. These are powerful
language devices that make stories stand out and
help people see the issue in a new light. For exam-
ple, a leader The Culture Builders recently worked
with was keen for his very successful organisation
to understand the imperative of continuing to look
forward and keep ahead. “It’s no good being the
best at making carts if the company down the road
is laying rail track,” he said. Short, simple but effec-
tive: everyone knows exactly what he is saying be-
cause the metaphor is, in effect, saying it for him.
The main thing to remember with
the role of Storyteller is to use it
as an opportunity to show, rather
than tell. Paint the picture, set
the scene, map out the journey:
whatever it is that you need to
do, make sure you use colour and
emotion to help people ‘visualise’
what you are saying. Once they
can ‘see’ your story, they stand a much bet-
ter chance of believing in it.
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Final Thoughts
“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying small stones”
Chinese proverb
“The function of leaders is to create more leaders, not more followers”
Ralph Nader
“If you are not willing to risk the usual you will have to settle for the ordinary”
Jim Rohn
“You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them”
Michael Jordan
It is these types of story’s which
connect employees to the
organisation and engage them in it’s
Jane Sparrow
By Karen Frost & Jane Sparrow
Karen Frost - Director of Operations at Values
Based Leadership
Jane Sparrow - A consultant and author specialising
in transformational change, engagement and sus-
tainable performance.