At McBride for Business (www.mcbrideforbusiness.com) we are big fans of simplicity. We think simplicity is a key to understanding and moving the business forward. Complexity can cost so much. When we hear of simple strategies or simple ways for businesses to succeed we get very excited. There’s been some interesting academic research in parallel areas to business (which has been underreported in the business press, so it is often forgotten), yet can be so valuable to making a business work.
We talk a lot about organizational theories and making businesses that work. Part of making businesses that work is having teams that are bound together.
One thing that binds people together is stories. Academic research has shown that families that engage in storytelling with one another, that have a family theme about how they do things in a family way (which is portrayed in stories and tales of the past), actually are more cohesive families. They’re able to accomplish more. They have less disruption and a better outcome for their children. Now, we’ve talked about the fact that business and family are different (http://www.mcbrideforbusiness.com/blog/family-dynamics-whats-good-for-the-goose-is-good-for-the-gander/) But it doesn’t mean that we can’t learn business themes from family. Importing storytelling into your business can also create cohesive energy, and it can cause the business to have a common theme and purpose.
We work so hard on culture, and it’s one of the hardest things to transfer. It’s why mergers fail. It’s why companies lose their direction, and it’s why businesses often go out of business at the end of the day. But we can have strategies to keep the company aligned, to keep everybody working together. One of those key strategies is storytelling.
You may want to have everybody in the company share stories about who they are, what they want to be, and what the company is. Share legends of great customer service, so that others can model it. Talk about how the business works. Talk about the great time when you saved a customer and how that showed your company’s value and customer service ethic. This creates a way of transferring knowledge in a very safe way, and also a very practical way. This very simple strategy can connect everyone in a more meaningful way.
One of the lessons of my speaking career (www.rshawnmcbridelive.com) is that people connect to stories, and your employees will too. When they hear the stories, they’ll feel connected. This will be much more effective than a bunch of mission statements, and other documents, which nobody really reads, or nobody fully understands. A story can be transferred. Mankind has been using stories over the generations to transfer knowledge. They’re understandable. They’re relatable, and now you can bring this powerful tool into your company by creating stories of who you are, and what your company is so that you can transfer this knowledge to your employees.
Have you experimented with storytelling in the past? What has been your experience? How have your employees reacted? Is this a tool you’re going to try in the future? Let us know in the comments below.
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This posting is intended to be a tool to familiarize readers with some of the issues discussed herein. This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances. Each case is unique. Past results do not guarantee future outcomes. This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity. Freeimages.com/photographer Eduardo Siqueira Filho.
About the Author
Shawn McBride is the Chief Innovation Officer at McBride For Business, LLC. His signature keynote, The 3 Laws of Empowerment (www.rshawnmcbridelive.com/3laws), gives audiences an entertaining look at how they can prepare, plan and protect themselves. You can reach R. Shawn McBride at firstname.lastname@example.org or (214) 418-0258.
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