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What Stories Are You Telling?

THE “STORY IDOL” CONTEST, an annual event of City National Bank, is where workers from across the company’s 79 offices vie to tell the best true tale about how they’ve promoted teamwork or helped a client or gone the extra mile.

It’s like telling stories around a campfire, but they’re doing it around conference tables. At the end, workers vote on the best stories and the winners receive iPads and cash prizes.

“It’s a way to give colleagues a pat on the back and a moment in the sun for doing the right thing and it democratizes and decentralizes positive reinforcement.”  says CEO Russell Goldsmith in The New York Times Corner Office article.

“We talk a lot about stories. They’re a really important part of how we teach and reinforce the culture, and how we reward behavior. Maybe it’s because I came out of the entertainment industry. If you had talked to me about a project when I was at Republic Pictures, I would have said it’s about story. With movies, if you don’t have a great script, forget it.”

What are the stories told in your organization? What message do they send to your employees, your customers, the media and even the world? Do you want to make it part of your culture?

If so, here are key points from the late David Armstrong, The Storytelling CEO:

  • Identify the purpose of the story.
    What information about your culture do you want to teach and reinforce? Is it about customer service, teamwork, employee motivation, strategy?
  • Find a situation that reflects that purpose and weave a story around it. 
    Ask employees, customers, suppliers, anyone who comes in contact with your product or services about their experiences. Armstrong claims, “It makes you a better leader because you have to listen to people.”
  • Remember KISS. Keep it short and simple.
    if it’s too long with too many details, it’s hard to remember and repeat. Stories need to engage not put to sleep!
  • Make your people heroes.
    Realize it’s not about you…it’s about them. It’s about your employees – what they do, how they do it, why they do it.

Smart Moves Tip:

Stories are used for numerous purposes. They convey information, share insights, clarify mission, support values, celebrate successes and console defeats. However, stories must reinforce your actual culture, not some fantasy of what you would like it to be. An authentic story reveals the true personality of the business – it engages the hearts, minds and even souls of people. It’s certainly much more powerful than a Powerpoint presentation!

[su_spacer]What’s your leadership story? What’s the heart and soul of your organization? How well are you telling it? 

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Marcia Zidle
Marcia Zidlehttp://www.smartmovescoach.com
Marcia Zidle, The Smart Moves Coach, is a national known board certified coach and keynote leadership speaker who guides organizations that are planning, or in the midst of, ambitious growth and change. As a career strategist, she works with professionals, managers and executives who want to build • shape • brand • change • vitalize their careers. She’s been selected by LinkedIn’s ProFinder as one of the best coaches for 2016!Her clients range from private owned businesses to mid-market companies to professional service firms to NGO’s. With 25 years of management, business consulting and international experience, she brings an expertise in executive and team leadership; employee engagement and innovation; personal and organization change; career building and development; emotional and social intelligence. Your Future Starts Now With Marcia!

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