STRATEGY AND STORYTELLING – YES, THEY GO TOGETHER
Question: How do you engage your stakeholders with your business’s strategy?
You may have a strategic plan which you share. You may cascade key information throughout the organisation. You may hold events where you tell your people what the strategy is. You may even have a lovely diagram that shows your mission, vision, values and priorities.
All this is great. However, how engaged are your people in what you are telling them?
Would they be able to clearly articulate the strategy to another colleague? A new starter in their team? Are they aligning their own objectives and priorities to the overall strategy?
Now I appreciate that is a lot of questions which I am asking on purpose. If the answer is ‘no’ to any on them then you may want to consider using storytelling as a great tool for engaging stakeholders.
In my previous organisation I was responsible for strategic engagement. As well as business partnering, I also worked closely with our Internal Communications team. Together we did all the above – the plans, diagrams, cascades and events. However, most colleagues when asked to articulate our strategy could only recite the vision. Things had to change, and we introduced storytelling methodology across the organisation. It was very successful and was soon being used in many ways. As well as communicating strategy, colleagues also found it a great technique to use in interviews, presenting new concepts and even in writing board papers.
So, let me share some top tips with you for storytelling:
HAVE A CLEAR MESSAGE
USE DESCRIPTIVE LANGUAGE
MAKE IT PERSONAL
You will also need a structure to follow. In my workshops I use Pixar’s six sentence structure. Once you have mastered it you will find it useful in many situations:
I recently ran a session for SMEs at a networking event and we worked on using the tools and techniques to master the ’60 second pitch’. One delegate tried it at her next networking event and was delighted at the response – engagement with the storytelling pitch was visibly higher than the other more usual pitches. And I can bet that her pitch will be the one remembered well after the event.
So, if you would like to learn more about how to use storytelling to engage stakeholders with your strategy or how to use it to develop your own pitch then please contact me to discuss how we can work together.