Let me tell you a story

By Stevie Moore

Every business has a strategy. It is usually drawn up with (or by) consultants. The comprehensive version covers pages of Venn diagrams and matrices, management speak and profound insights. It’s a guide for the board, but impenetrable to most of the team.In business as in life, people need inspiration, clarity and brevity. So why do we throw the kitchen sink at them instead?

The simple answer is that it’s the default mode. Senior leaders grew up with it. They understand strategy – so assume that everyone else will ‘get it’, in granular detail.  They attend endless meetings, so presume that density of content is not just the norm, but also the right way forward. If you pile on the information, you can never be accused of leaving anything out.

There is a better way. For years now, go-ahead businesses have stopped drowning people in detail. They have adopted storytelling as a much more powerful way of engaging hearts alongside minds. At Line Up we make stories as creative as possible.

This could be by describing a journey, from start point to desired destination. We’re all suckers for a narrative arc, whether in a film or book, pub discussion or conference presentation. Immersing an audience in your brand via an experiential walk-through (or similarly inventive format) is always going to be more powerful than presenting a pile of facts. Ditto using film to show an emotive storyline, rather than corporate content (the former will have a longer shelf life too).

Tell stories about heritage: everyone wants to feel proud of their business. And make sure you employ the right storytellers. Bad presenters are often selected, for reasons of seniority, status or politics. If energy, enthusiasm and the ability to make a connection are absent, a large investment is going to waste.

So let’s hear it for a good story. Every human being responds to the shape, tone and form of a powerful narrative. They’ll be pleasantly surprised by the innovation: audiences love the unexpected and, however cynical, people want to be engaged.

A strategy is not enough. Inspirational leaders bring their plans to life – with great stories.