What stories do you hear?
Who doesn’t love a good story? Story telling can in fact be a great strategic business tool, used to teach, inspire, build trust, and also of course, sell. They can change the way we feel, how we act, and what we think. And of course, they can be used to develop a value system for your business.
Story telling is a part of everyday life, with some people telling better stories than others. Some are born with this gift, whilst others might struggle or need to learn this skill. In business, storytelling is a great tool. Not only good for your business strategy, but it can also support you to succeed without the need to tick all of the ‘right’ or typical business boxes.
Generally, if you can tell a good story, then all you need to do to create trust within and towards your business is to hold up your integrity and do what you said you’re going to do. Standing by these black and white areas in your business rather than delving into grey areas is all about sticking to that story.
Learning to tell stories about who you are, why your business is here, and what you do becomes very important in today’s business world, where small and large businesses are common and need differentiation.
Listening to stories
The stories you hear can also impact your business. When reacting to a story one of your employees tells you it’s important to react with empathy. Many leaders react with sympathy, which although may feel right and might be how you would normally react, can be unproductive. Empathy on the other hand can lead to solutions being found to issues, and the employee will feel as though you really listened.
When listening to stories, we also sometimes blame the other party for what they have told us and feel this as a threat. For example if a supplier has advised us they could not meet a deadline, we may continue to blame them for this, however not hold them accountable for fear of confrontation. However, acting with empathy and disengaging fear can deal with the situation and find a solution.
Many of us are terrified of the responsibility of holding someone else accountable for their actions. We feel that this is aggressive behaviour. This is however incorrect, and it’s vital to have these conversations in order to make a difference in your business. Although someone might disagree with you, they will also need to take responsibility for their life, business or personal.
Stories are an important part of business. Listening to them, telling them, and creating them are all vital to how we operate. By learning to tell a compelling story, by listening actively, and by paving the way with courage and integrity, stories will have a true positive impact within your business.
If you’d like to find out more about utilising the power of stories within your business, contact Integrity and Values today for more information.
Jennifer Elliott is the founder and CEO of Integrity and Values, a leadership development organisation that empowers leaders to build responsible teams that produce extraordinary results.
Recognised as one of Australia’s leading executive leadership and behavioural change consultants, Jennifer has worked with teams and individuals across Australia for over 30 years..
Jennifer’s impressive sales and management history is supported by her own experience owning and running successful multi-million dollar companies and through building and leading her own effective teams. She has first-hand knowledge on the business building process, the payroll struggle, confronting management issues and dealing with cash-flow problems.