Monday, October 24, 2011

Tell Me A Story

In this video short video from The Wall Street Journal, James Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy, shares his strategy for getting buy-in on change.  Stories.   

Stories allow us to convey a message in a manner that invokes emotion and creates an experience people can connect to in a way that a business memo never will. 

A book I've mentioned before in this blog, The Influencer by Patterson, Grenny, Maxfield, McMillan, and Switzler, also recommends the use of story in change efforts.
     "A well-told narrative provides concrete and vivid detail rather than terse summaries and unclear conclusions.  It changes people's view of how the world works because it presents a plausible, touching, and memorable flow of cause and effect that can alter people's view of the consequences of various actions or beliefs." 
The book goes on with further detail as to why this strategy is so effective.  Even better though, the authors share some incredibly powerful stories of successful change efforts for individuals, organizations, communities, cultures, and entire countries.

One of the reasons we use story in coaching for change is because of how differently a person listens to story - guard down, ears open, mind open, and engaged.  Compare that to how a person listens to advice, even when the advice was solicited - defensive, ears listening for criticism, mind arguing with the speaker, and closed off.  Advice or lecture invites debate while story invites reflection and connection. 

If you're looking for a better way to introduce change to your teams, consider the use of factual, authentic, experience-based storytelling.

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