Friday, 31 March 2017

Story telling.......

Who hasn’t heard a story? Who doesn’t love a story? We have all grown up on stories narrated by our grandparents or have read stories from Amar Chitra Katha. Have you ever thought how stories could be a powerful medium for organizational transformation?
Why stories? Stories touch our heart and ignites our minds. A well narrated story takes the audience through a visual journey and fuels their imagination. The most important feature of a story is it’s a fun way to learn. If your people can identify with the characters in the story, you can be sure that they would never miss the lesson.
Instead of PowerPoint presentations and classroom workshops, Big Bazaar uses stories to drive home complex management concepts of team work, leadership, performance orientation and customer focus. There’s a photo of JRD Tata on the desk of every senior manager at Bombay House. Pictures on the wall narrate how the Tata Group pioneered the industrial revolution in India. The internal and external communication of the Tata Group is also strategically designed to convey the story of the association of Tatas with industrial growth of the country and how the Group stands for trust and values.
Change is threatening. It’s difficult for people to come out of their comfort zones, overcome their apprehensions and adapt to change. You cannot impose change on people. You need to give them a compelling reason to change. One story that is used by organisations worldwide to inspire their people to proactively adapt to change is Spencer Johnson’s ‘Who moved my Cheese?’ ‘The Fish’ by Stephen Lundin shows how to create a lovable and fun workplace through the story of a manager who is inspired by the energy and liveliness of the famous Pike Place Fish market and experiments its culture to transform her dreary workplace. I strongly recommend using books like these in training workshops. 
Whether an organization believes in stories or not, employees discuss stories about the organisation and its leaders around the vending machine and over coffee tables. Grapevines and rumours are an integral part of office dynamics. The more you try to curb them, the more they become popular. The only way to quell this is to document the positive success stories of the organisation and share it through newsletters and formal addresses by leaders.
Do you remember the Quality Circle and the Suggestion Scheme that gets launched with great fanfare only to see it dying a slow death in the next few months? All it takes is a good story to sustain these initiatives. The organization should showcase good suggestions. It should share the story on notice boards, through intranet and through newsletters. Recognizing the people who gave good suggestions that has benefited the organization and asking them to share their story publicly motivates others to follow suit.
Your website talks about your organization, its history, vision, mission, values and so on. These cliché statements do not motivate your customers to do business with you. Neither do great pictures, backgrounds and animations. Try adding a few success stories of how you helped your customers to solve their problems and achieve their goals.
Every organization has a story to tell. In fact, every organization may have many stories to tell. These may be success stories of high performers, anecdotes of how you delighted customers, case studies of innovations, commitment towards social responsibility and so on. If channelized properly, these stories can motivate people, instil pride and belongingness in them, inculcate the right values and bring about behavior modification.
Happy story telling!