Shape Success through Story

People absorb information, learn and change through stories.  Many leaders miss out on this powerful tool to shape success.
John Kotter says that a leader’s job is to define what the future should look like, align people with that vision, and inspire them to make it happen despite the obstacles.  To move people toward success you must show them where they are going.
Stories are critical to persuasion.  Stories help your audience connect the dots between the rational and emotional, in situations where they might not otherwise be engaged or interested.
Logic (or numbers, metrics or percentages) makes people think but emotion makes them act.  Numbers do not create behavior shift.  Performance metrics get lost in translation.  Percentages have no meaning without story or explanation.
What does success look like? Leaders must tell stories to share the definition of the future, create alignment and inspire their followers to move in the right direction.
Components of a great story to shape success:

  • Attention Grabbing – “once upon a time,” does not create excitement, anticipation or enthusiasm.  Whether you make a case for change, challenge the status quo or cut through complexity, your story needs a fascinating headline.
  • Compelling Plot – create some drama by sharing something that was overcome or a wonderful accomplishment.  Another way of making something compelling is to tell the story in the context of the listener.  People are captivated by themselves.  If you contextualize the story, and connect with the listener you are compelling.
  • Call to Action  – the intended results must conclude the story.  Without a call to action, the story is merely entertaining.  What do you want the listener to be, know or do as a result of hearing the story?  Shape success by inspiring the listener to take action.

When you tell stories that grab attention, have a compelling plot and a call to action, you will shape success.

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