Steve Denning, author of The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative (J-B US non-Franchise Leadership), is one of the foremost experts on storytelling in leadership. He surely knows a lot about the power of stories.
When you want to move people to take some kind of action, or change their thoughts – storytelling is one of the best techniques to do so. Yes, you can present people all the dry data, all the abstract numbers and facts in the world. And in your mind, these numbers and data and facts might draw a compelling picture. But it requires a lot of mental effort to see that picture for other people. Don’t make them do the work – do the work for them by SHOWING them the compelling picture. And the best way to draw a picture in another person’s mind is by storytelling.
If you work in the corporate world, you know already well enough about the powerpoint poison. It’s just boring. It’s putting people to sleep. (Yes, PowerPoints CAN be great – but most of the time, they are not).
When you lead other people, there are all kinds of challenges, problems, obstacles that need to be overcome. There are different goals that need to be aligned. With storytelling, you can create a narrative that inspires people to bundle their reasources and unify their goals, so that you really create a team.
All human beings are meaning-making-machines. With stories, you help people to create meaning out of lifeless mission statements, procedures, formal strategies, systems, budgets and charts.
Read what Steve Denning has to say on the importance of leadership and storytelling:
Why Leadership Storytelling Is Important
A while back, a colleague asked me why leadership storytelling is important. I came up with the following list: