October 15, 2019

Using Storytelling as a Strategic Leader

LeanVlog is proud to have interviewed Florence Meunier regarding
“the use of storytelling as a strategic leader”.

Florence and her team focus primarily on Lean Office and Communication.

For more details check out her website www.lean4u.net.

Particularly of interest are the different trainings and workshops that she designs and delivers (e.g. “Persona”, “Storytelling”, “strategic vision”, …).

Here is her BIO:

Florence Meunier CV

Now let’s go with the interview…

#1 – Storytelling – Where to Start?

Florence, as a senior lean office and communication skills consultant, you encourage any leader to use storytelling. Why?

Using stories to support you in your diverse leadership efforts might have not come to your mind.

And yet,

if you are looking for deeper engagement in the company and across the marketplace, strategic alignment, ability to manage change, influence, relevance, then storytelling is definitely what you want to look at more closely.

Stories deliver this electric jolt of context and meaning that brings to life many of the most urgent imperatives of the organization.

So, where to start?

People in the organizations want continuity, customers want engagement, the new generational knowledge workers want to mean… So, what do you want your audience do?

  • Do you want them to know something?
  • Do something?
  • Feel something?

Start with getting the right story at the right time for the right reason.

Note that your style of delivery comes second.

In fact, if you deliver the right story, it can change the world!

There are probably a million types of stories that leaders in organizations can tell.

However,

here are 4 elements that connect to the heart of your leadership:

  1. Identity,
  2. Values,
  3. Change and learning
  4. Vision.

The more compelling your story is, the more likely it is to get inside your audience!

Those stories that are shared over and over again?

These are the core stories of your leadership!

#2 – Use Value Stories.

What can you tell us about values stories?

Almost every organization has a statement of values.

And this is often that they are a source of cynicism rather than vitality.

That’s the result when people perceive a disconnect between the established values and what the reality says.

  • Is “quality” a value at your organization?
  • Or “excellence”? Or “people are your greatest asset”?

To mean something to people, bring these values to life in a story!

Take quality as an example: what does it look like in your organization?

Or, what is unique about customer service at your organization?

In what unique ways does innovation come to life at your organization?

These are how stories of your work.
When you tell those stories, you help people accomplish the mission.

Take a fresh look at the values at your organization or team.

What are some times when you saw each of those values being lived in remarkable ways?

So, what’s next?

Tell it!

Pick one of the stories you identified,
and find an occasion to share it,

for example,

at the beginning of a team meeting,
or as part of your next presentation, or simply as an email you send out to colleagues:

“A story I wanted to share with you”.

When brought to life with stories, your values become a differentiator.

#3 – Values stories as a key differentiator.

You told that when brought to life with stories, your values become a differentiator. How does this work?

Stories that people in organizations tell do not exist in isolation.
They are always part of a bigger, shared story.

And this is one of a leader’s role: to shape and define what that bigger story is.

Let’s take an example.

Say you have identified that as a leader,
you wish to create a culture in which the organization’s shared values are a real differentiator,
and a prime opportunity to define how people will do the work.

  1. Write 4 of the company values in quadrants on a flip chart
  2. Have one person tell a story about one value
  3. Together, give each story a title on a post-it note,
    and place each post-it note in its corresponding quadrant
  4. Repeat that process with the different team members and for all the values

At the end of this storytelling process, you should get a certain number of stories about the 4 values you chose.

The important point here is that all these individual stories are like chapters in the bigger story that you are all living together: the story of your organization’s values in action.

Now,

by sharing these stories about values,
you are passing on the key message that your values are important,
they define who you are and that you are intentional representatives
of the organization’s values so they are true differentiators for your business.

By creating a purposeful occasion to come together to uncover and tell these stories,
you just produce urgency, vitality, and life to the bigger story of your organization as a values-driven system.

In a very real sense, you just give shape to the identity of the organization!

Thank you, Florence!

Click here >> If you want to do a question about Storytelling to Florence.

Click here >> If you want more info on Storytelling Course

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