How stories transform company culture

Happy New Year to you all! It’s hard to believe it’s already February. Despite everything that is going on in the world and I think you’d agree, things can feel pretty crazy right now, the stories we tell ourselves and others are more important than ever. During this year on my Wordstruck blog I’m going to be exploring and explaining how you can use stories to create change in your life and in your organisation.

There are three parts to how stories work in business:

  • Storytelling
  • Story triggering
  • Story listening

In order to lead persuasively, whether you are leading an entire company or a team of three, or simply yourself, you need to know how all three work together.

When I coach leaders and CEOs one-to-one we start with storytelling. Once they’ve mastered the four story patterns that we use as part of the Storytelling for Leaders program™,  they are ready to delve deeper into the process.

We can move to using stories to create and shape the culture of an organisation. This is the start of a new and exciting phase. This marks the shift from using stories to communicate to using stories to influence and transform work culture.

So what is story-triggering?
It’s a way to create or amplify the culture you want. As a leader, your actions can trigger stories that are then re-told — both positively and negatively. This is the core concept of story-triggering. It is the equivalent of ‘walk the talk’. If there is misalignment between what you say and what you do, people around you will notice. As American author and businessman, Stephen R. Covey says, ‘You can’t talk your way out of what you’ve behaved yourself into.’

Now, over to you:
1.    Can you think of a time when you triggered a positive story in your organisation? What was the impact?

2.    Can you think of a time when, without realising, you may have triggered a negative story? With hindsight, what could you have done differently?

3.    What change do you want to affect this year? What is one thing you can do, so people repeat that positive story of change?

Look forward to hearing your thoughts!