The operating systems of our brains run on stories
26 January 2022
What’s the story with that employee?
How did you land your biggest customer?
Why are you revising your product?
We use stories to understand ourselves, others and just about everything that happens in the world. We pay money and take time to watch stories about virtually everything – far-flung romance, talking horses, war and space travel. We listen to others when they tell stories in order to understand them and what is happening. We cry, laugh, commit and flee based on story.
Stories are how we understand life and make decisions about it.
Facts are a necessary part of the story, but facts need context to be meaningful. “The car was traveling 45 miles per hour.” Okay, got it. Was it going that fast in a school zone, while kids were streaming out of the building, during a sudden snowstorm? Or was the car on the Autobahn, being passed at two or three times its speed? Who was driving the car? Why?
Story is the most powerful thing a business leader has. Your employees, partners and investors – like all of us – make decisions and then behave based on what your story is.
Ask yourself this: how well do you tell your story? Is your story clearly told, consistent, and does it describe something that is beneficial to your employees and customers?
Like the car traveling 45 mph, a simple fact about an employee’s or customer’s understanding must be in context. A product that costs $10K has to be in the context of what similar products cost, why there is a difference, and why that difference matters. Same thing with employee salary, vacation policy, and job descriptions.
Take a minute today, and maybe every day, to think about your story, and how you tell it to the people you work with.
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