Mondays are excellent days for reflecting on the excellent memories of the beyond the week, and not simply the thrilling facts. Storytelling, listening and triggering are a core competency for a commercial enterprise, as this book explains.


Listening to stories and telling them comes obviously to humans, and deserves a systematic system in nowadays’s corporations as nicely. Putting Stories to Work: Mastering Business Storytelling via Shawn Callahan is a practical manual primarily based on two decades of labor in storytelling in agencies throughout dozens of nations.

The eleven chapters are unfolding throughout 270 pages and make for an informative read. There is also a 5-page story index which correctly illustrates the principles of tale tagging and taxonomy.

Shawn Callahan is a storytelling writer, teacher, and teach. Based in Melbourne, he has labored with organizations ranging from Danone and Allianz to SAP and Tesco. He is the founding father of Anecdote, whose consulting programmes are brought in 8 languages. Shawn holds a bachelor’s diploma in geography and archaeology from the Australian National University.

“Smart organizations are making an investment in supporting their humans to systematically and purposefully discover and percentage powerful memories,” Shawn begins. In the worlds of film govt Peter Guber: “Storytelling isn’t always shown enterprise. It’s the right business.”

I even have summarised my key takeaways in the three sections beneath, in addition to in Tables 1 and a pair of. See additionally my critiques of the related books Unleash the Power of Storytelling, Let the Story Do the Work, The Storyteller’s Secret, Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins, Stories for Work, and Stories at Work. Entrepreneurs have to take a look at out YourStory’s Changemaker Story Canvas, an unfastened visualization device for startups and innovators.

I. Foundations

Storytelling through miming and drawing predates the spoken phrase. “Writing now dominates corporate existence. Yet, at our core, our innate conversation skills are miming and oral storytelling,” Shawn explains.

He cites the definition of ‘story’ by using Richard Maxwell and Bob Dickman: “Stories are data, wrapped in context, and brought with meaning.” Shawn adds: “Stories are a user guide for lifestyles.”

A commercial enterprise story has a time and location marker, a sequence of connected events, speakers, and a business point. An excellent story conveys description, visualization, and empathy. It must have an element of surprise, and intensity in its characters.

Stories in commercial enterprise contexts are unfortunately disregarded through many leaders due to the fact stories are perceived as a waste of time, now not enterprise-like, something which handiest youngsters or entertainers do, a manner of manipulation, or are made up. Instead, Shawn requires leaders to take the proper mindset and moves toward effective storytelling.

“Sharing real-lifestyles oral testimonies bestows on a leader the superpowers of memorability, meaningfulness, and emotionality, all of which are essential in a business global where relationships, consider, and the potential to adapt have grown to be important talents,’ Shawn emphasizes.

The book focuses extensively on oral storytelling and opens the door to extra studies on written tales and digital media. Storytelling in the business context is like “company anthropology,” and making it a regular effective dependancy requires motivation, competencies, and a varied repertoire of long-lasting memories.

Deliberate exercise, conscious improvement, and a focus on human detail are key for storytelling. Having a “story friend” or relied on an internal circle allows taking a look at testimonies in this regard. Stories may be categorized into 3 types on the intimacy spectrum: the front porch memories (for every person), kitchen testimonies (for the inner circle), and bedroom stories (the most intimate ones). Practice helps determine how plenty of oneself the tale must monitor.

Powerpoint displays and CEO roadshows aren’t as effective for speaking commercial enterprise strategy as a memorable tale with an overarching narrative. By answering the Why question, such tales assist the method to be remembered by way of employees and retold to others (regardless of their own additions woven in).

Engaged employees will cross above and beyond their call of duty; it allows if leaders proportion memories about the organization’s motive, development, and organizational belief. It is critical for leaders to also trigger and hear memories from their employees – this allows understand perceptions and dedication.

“Stories of tremendous efforts are exquisite gasoline for inspiration,” Shawn explains. For instance, based on customer feedback, Apple asks personnel to percentage testimonies about how they successfully served customers each day. “To inspire at work, leaders have to percentage stories of occasions big and small,” he advises.

Experiences framed by using a chain of stories enhance better decision-making practices. Relevant classes learned can be shared through stories and pressure behavior exchange. Truly attractive memories now not most effective draw listeners in, however boom empathy or even result in the prediction of what takes place next.

Story listening enables unearth half of-truths, incorrect information and lies (‘anti-tales’) inside the corporate grapevine and want to be countered no longer just with information but better opportunity memories or replacement tales.

II. Story Mastery

To be a successful storyteller requires separating stories from non-memories (opinions, statistics, timelines), having stories in your “mental back-pocket,” narrating anecdotes and broader patterns in the employer, and having a various range of clean stories.
“Spotting testimonies is the fundamental narrative intelligence you want to become a commercial enterprise storyteller,” Shawn emphasizes. This involves drawing connections between lived revel in and enterprise thoughts and includes figuring out “difficult diamonds” that may be polished to grow to be true testimonies.

In the entertainment enterprise, tales of energy, demise, youngsters’ safety, and sex make for “sticky memories” that ring a bell with our reptilian brains. Movie scenes and commercials provide appropriate story factors.

In the business world, testimonies can be spotted wherein periodic conferences are taking area, for the duration of crises, when humans are under pressure, or wherein new matters are happening. They may even be spotted anyplace the “quirky, eccentric mavericks dangle out.”

Story-eliciting questions are useful in this regard. Artworks, images, and photographs, mainly of human beings in movement, may be evocative gear as properly; so are artifacts such as sketches, maps, and other physical gadgets. However, testimonies want no longer be over-dramatized or made into performances; the best communicators are conversational, Shawn explains.

Stories can help leaders show that they care, have individual and reason, and have learned training from their enjoy. For such stories to be memorable, they ought to be visual, emotional and interesting, Shawn advises.

Stories may be remembered through powerful tags, with many examples illustrated inside the ebook: CEO rejects bribe, The lawyer with integrity, Shifting the factory, The Xerox repairman tale, Refugees annoying a library card, The Zen master and the professor, and The Apollo 13 scene.

Rather than depending handiest on massive memories, it facilitates to tell lots of small but vivid, relatable and emotional tales. At the identical time, telling tales all of the time without a commercial enterprise factor dangers making the narrator sound like a “gasbag,” Shawn cautions.

Stories assist thoughts spread like a deadly disease (Malcolm Gladwell) or even a forest fireplace (Duncan Watts). Founder stories are in particular powerful in reinforcing the organization’s origin, early struggles, hard choices, middle values, and adjustments in direction. For example, whilst Steve Jobs lower back to Apple, he trimmed down the point of interest to the simplest four merchandise in a 2X2 matrix (Consumer and Pro; Desktop and Laptop).

“A price isn’t a fee until it fees your cash,” Shawn explains; values testimonies have to illustrate the tradeoffs made for the duration of decisions, and make values like honesty and integrity come actually.

Vision testimonies should construct on favored futures, and feature terms like What if. Connection testimonies set up rapport thru the human element, particularly while addressing new audiences; they construct on turning points in non-public activities or paintings occurrences.

Clarity testimonies toughen logical reasoning thru narrative systems like <In the past> <Then something happened> <So now> <In the future>. It recognizes beyond problems and the complexities of alternate and then describes preferred states and steps.

Imagery and factors of assessment are important in clarity testimonies. Involving a team in growing readability stories allows making them all connected to it (the ‘IKEA effect’ of loving something you create).

An approach tale must not come across as too easy or slick (a ‘Pollyanna tale’ in which everything is good). It ought to acknowledge earlier anti-stories, and the leaders’ behaviors must be aligned with the tale.

Influence tales can use the ‘tale before argument’ precept to assist triumph over confirmation bias in listeners; they should no longer sense reviews are being pushed at them. The shape ought to be <Acknowledge the anti-story> <Share the new example or story> <Make the case> <Reiterate the point>.

In different words, the affected sample has a negative tale followed by using a tremendous story, which collectively provides the answer. They have an impact on tale ought to be true, relatable, credible, simple and proven.

“Anti-stories mirror the true concerns of personnel and that they have to be addressed. Consequently, it’s essential that leaders recognize the anti-memories of their employer. They want to be related to their personnel, have their ears to the floor,” Shawn emphasizes.

Case studies may be livened up with human elements inclusive of emotions and names of people involved (even if the names used are not the actual names). Analogy memories bring in symbols from different fields (eg. Ryan Lochte beating Michael Phelps by way of inventing a new form of dolphin kick), or from parables (eg. Bringing Zen tales into the Western tradition).

Presentations may be simplified by structuring them into three sections: What, So what, Now what. Sales pitches can draw on the readability story pattern, and even encompass failure testimonies and classes found out; clients should also be invited to share their own testimonies.

III. Stories in action

The ebook is packed with a number of private and commercial enterprise memories, drawn from Shawn’s tremendous enjoy. Narrative intelligence in an enterprise changes the tradition for the better.

For example, the Victoria Department of Education has month-to-month teleconferences wherein teachers percentage testimonies of innovative practices, and talk how to mirror and scale them. Ritz-Carlton asks employees to submit ‘Wow’ testimonies of great customer support every two weeks, and the HR branch selects one for sharing throughout the motel chain.

Wynn Resorts has hooked up a tale programme that runs every day. In groups of 6-12, employees are requested every day to share tales of something special that happened with visitors. This makes successful employees experience like heroes and spurs them to be exemplary and broaden their own testimonies as properly.

Home equipment corporation PIRCH has advanced a manifesto of 23 aphorisms inclusive of Honour your guarantees, Be actual, Slow down, and even You have a tremendous bottle of wine, drink it. Its showroom is like an enjoyment park for adults, where they could “nude up” and walk underneath a 15-meter row of showerheads to decide which one to choose.

New personnel is uncovered to suitable purchaser practices and storytelling in corporations along with Nordstrom, Tesla, Tiffany, and Lululemon. They then form a circle to percentage testimonies approximately the business enterprise’s aphorisms based totally on a group of artifacts. Informal sharing of stories additionally happens round seaside bonfires, where founder tales and neighborhood chief stories are narrated. Exemplary place of business memories are shared each week on the intranet and are called Manifesto Moments Online.

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