Archives for 5 Mar,2019

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The Power of Story Telling

Teddy 400x265Why telling stories is no longer something to be ashamed of.

The world of business has arrived at a place where telling stories is no longer something naughty, but rather a skill that should be developed.  What we need to understand is where and how it is a useful skill to have, and how to leverage it most effectively.

What is particularly important to recognise, is that every challenge we face as a business has at its heart a communication conundrum.  Story telling is already having an impact on our business whether we like or not.

Customers are sharing stories to the wider world about their experiences of our business.  Employees are sharing stories about their work to friends and family.  Our leaders are sharing stories with wider stakeholders on their vision for the business.  And those stories can have an impact on motivation, morale and our share price.

By identifying the stories that are already influencing your business, you may be amazed at what you’ll discover.  If these narratives are enhancing the business then build upon them, create more of them and share them widely.

Totem Lollipops

However they may not be the stories that you want to tell!  The good news is that these stories can be changed, new narratives can be created that are more focused and empowering and once they are communicated, these stories can herald a new wave of business success.

Well used storytelling can be an incredible way to bring clarity to every area of our business, whether they are customer-facing or internal such as in leadership or cultural change.  There are several places where storytelling fits into business and here are some of the key areas where it can work well to enhance the success of your business communications:

Effective teams are built on shared stories

Every team is made up of a unique set of individuals, with unique stories.  There is often a blend between those who have business focused stories, and those whose stories reflect a preference for developing relationships. The art of storytelling can be used to identify where these personal stories might clash, then to create a new empowering story for the team as a whole. That in turn builds the energy, motivation and determination that ultimately fuels success.

Totem Gummi Bears

Story telling can define your business culture

In any organisation there are as many unique stories as there are people.  But when there is an alignment within the organisation, between the stories that people inside the organisation believe and tell, a consistent message begins to appear running through the organisation.  This in turn becomes your culture.

The key is in engaging people and understanding their stories – recognising that these stories reflect their beliefs and values.  Setting the stage for developing a new integrated story that brings the different strands of the business together, creating a new cultural story that propels the company forward with hearts and minds aligned.

Storytelling engages more than the mind

Studies have shown that a well-told story, takes people on a journey, stimulates their emotions, causes the release of neurotransmitters in their brain and makes it more likely that they will take action.  Great stories usually tap into fundamental life themes such as overcoming fear through courage, trusting your intuition, learning from mistakes.  So while you might balk at the idea of sharing a story from your personal life it may enable you to connect with your audience and communicate in a deep and memorable way.

And the benefits don’t stop there.  Research by the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services has shown that there are benefits for the teller of the story as it can empower, encourage personal growth and build resilience too!

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A Competency Based Evolution

competency-evolutionWhat’s new in the world of recruitment?

As we closed the year with two big recruitment projects, there were themes emerging about where recruitment might go next.  On the one hand, not much has changed in a long time – businesses want to find people quickly and make sure they’re people who will get off to a great start.  But something is stirring – and perhaps there is a shift on the way about how we recruit.

Focus on the outcome

This is becoming a consistent theme for 2015.  High performing businesses, those looking to grow, those looking to respond to a downturn in revenue – all have had the common theme of wanting to move their recruitment activity more toward the outcome of the role.  This is a change from the common knee-jerk reaction to assume the recruiting manager knows what they want and so then ask what salary is available and what kind of experience is being sought.

We can be far more effective in our recruiting and ongoing performance management when we move towards asking key questions like:

  • What business problem are you trying to solve?
  • What will this role deliver?
  • If you had to ask the bank manager for the money for this role, how would you explain the value of the role and show potential ROI?
  • How would you know someone had done a good job in 12 months’ time?

Competencies are getting tired

Whether it’s the fact that we’re tired of listening to candidates’ pre-rehearsed answers to the “tell me about a time when” questions or simply that all the competencies are starting to sound the same and blend into each other – there is a growing noise of dissatisfaction with competencies.

Quite often we find as well that too much is being pushed into a competency framework.  Some read more like values and others are a more technical requirement of how a job is completed.

Competencies work best for a business’ interests when there is clarity on what they are and what they are not.  For example one business we works with makes clear you are not expected to be great at everything – nobody could be!  So the focus is on finding out where you have strength and matching that to the highest priority needs of the role.

Strengths and values could be an alternative

There has been a lot of interest in strengths ever since the 2005 publication of “Now, Discover your Strengths.”  Increasingly as we notice the link between people doing what they do best, energy levels, happiness, health, employee engagement and performance – strengths display their importance in the workplace.

Add values into that – the deep-rooted things that each of us find important about life, work and relationships, and we start to see something else very important.

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