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Why do people enjoy movies, TV shows, and even the news more than political speeches and college lectures?
The answer is one simple word: Storytelling. But storytelling isn't just about entertainment. Entertainment as an end in itself loses our interest in no time at all. Storytelling is about inspiration. It leads us to think new thoughts, ask new questions, or feel new feelings. So how are you using storytelling in your business? Telling a GOOD story isn't enough. You have to tell an EFFECTIVE story. This chart from Stephen Denning will get you started.
Image source: Stephen Denning, (2006),"Effective storytelling: strategic business narrative techniques", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 34 Iss: 1 pp. 42 - 48
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A conductor-less orchestra sounds about as plausible as a manager-less company. And yet, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in New York City has won Grammy awards and continues to sell out theaters... all without a conductor. How do they do it? By respecting each other as equals, electing leaders for each piece of music, working on each piece as a small unit before taking it to the full orchestra, perfecting each performance, practicing active listening, and lastly, devoting their passion to their work.
Managers won't be going away anytime soon in the typical company, but adapting the creative teamwork and cooperation modeled by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra to your team is likely to boost your results, stimulate creativity, and significantly reduce turnover.
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There's a fast, easy, and (almost) free way to improve customer service, job satisfaction, and efficiency/accuracy of your employees.
Ready for it?
Simply share pictures and stories of your customers, clients, and staff. Studies show that radiologists (who usually see only x-rays, not patients) spent more time on and gave more accurate diagnoses when a patient's photo was attached to x-rays. Similarly, Ritz-Carlton asks employees to spend a few minutes each day sharing how they went the extra mile for customers, with the result that customer service improved. And speaking from my own experience working at a media agency, when I received an email from a listener or viewer of a product I was working on, my next set of scripts was always a little more creative.
It doesn't take much to put a human face or story to the work your people do. And it is worth the effort. If you need help brainstorming an effective way to do this at your company, I have some creative problem solving techniques that can help.