Storytelling As A Key Leadership Tool

Posted by Digital_Zone on May 7th, 2022

Anyone who keeps track of recent developments on the leadership horizon has run into the topic of storytelling within the leadership context.

Enveloping important business lessons within the framework of a story helps effective leaders do more than simply pass on knowledge and know-how. storytelling creative agency transfers theoretical knowledge into a practical context, the story itself focuses and individualizes the info, and the whole experience strengthens and inspires the team.

When I first began out in advertising, I was told the story of the agency\'s successful launch campaign for an important client\'s new product. This traditional German company was about to introduce a new product aimed at a much younger target group. Our American creative chairman - just back from a visit to the States - realized that campaign had to be and not only act young in order to have any credibility at all amongst younger consumers. That\'s why he let himself be inspired by what he\'d seen on a new Stateside television station: MTV. Instead of offering the usual storyboards within their presentation, the creative chairman had pieced together components of relevant movie stock material in the fast-paced, jaggedly cut MTV style that would soon be all of the rage in music videos.

When the agency introduced the idea for the campaign to the client, the client was at first speechless - then livid. It wasn\'t what they expected, and it really wasn\'t what they thought they necessary for their product to be a success.

The literary agency believed within their concept and stood behind their innovative idea 100 %.

Their middle ground? They agreed to develop a simultaneous campaign more consistent with client expectations and to pay to put both campaigns into a market pre-test. The client agreed to adhere to the investigation results and launch their product using the winning campaign.

To produce a long story short: The agency version got the highest pre-test scores of any advertising campaign ever tested in Germany. It gave the client\'s product an enormous push into the marketplace, quickly became talk-of-the-town, and even continued to win an innovative prize in New York.

Oh yea, in the long run the client agreed to grab the investigation costs.

This story explained more about my Managing Director\'s and Creative Chairman\'s pride within their work and their willingness to have a risk for really good work, along with about their attitude towards client satisfaction in a service industry, than any corporate mission statement ever could! And this really is the sort of attitude I was wanting to pass to the people I trained.

The most commonly told leadership stories answer among the following question(s):

Who am I? - Once you accept a leadership role or begin leading a group, you may think you\'re an unwritten page for the people around you. Wrong! Instead they project various preconceived notions and past (negative) experiences onto you before you\'ve even had an opportunity to shake everybody\'s hand. Telling a story about yourself - one which highlights a specific shortcoming or business-related mistake you\'ve made - is not only the chance to share an understanding experience. This type of story also lets people know that you will be not invincible, and that you trust them with that knowledge. It could make you more approachable and tells them how you tick.

Why am I here? - This type of story offers you an opportunity to show your team that you\'ve no hidden agenda. By being upfront about your motivations and everything you hope to accomplish with their support, you open the doorway for mutual trust.

What do I want you to learn? - Passing on an important business lesson in the shape of a story helps your team remember what you want them to do and why they\'re supposed to do it. Encouraging your team to recognize the larger purpose of their actions make them realize the actual value of their contribution - and understand that you recognize it, too.

Where do I want you to go? - When defining and communicating a vision to your team, it is essential they accept part ownership in the vision, and understand their exact role in achieving that vision. Establishing this common goal can also be vital when - during tough time - as their leader you need to re-activate their enthusiasm and motivate them to continue on course.

What are the core values that govern our actions? - It\'s (too) easy to create values like \"integrity\", \"honesty\" or \"achievement\" into a mission statement. Much more challenging, however, is bringing these terms alive in a way that folks know what you mean, along with how these terms impact their work and their relationships together and clients. That is what my Managing Director and Creative Chairman did with the story I recounted above.

Where is our middle ground? - As a leader you\'re sometimes called upon to bargain even once you strongly believe you\'re in the right. The task here\'s to let the other party note that you truly understand their perspective, while challenging them to provide your method a try.

Remember, too, that not only the story but in addition the storyteller might have an enduring - positive - affect a team\'s or employee\'s attitude and performance.

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Joined: November 10th, 2020
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