I must admit that the past couple of weeks has been super busy. First of all, there are crazy deadlines at work (yes, I can hear you already asking when there are no deadlines). But aside from having to meet these deadlines, I have been consulting for a company to help them change their strategy and structure. You could say that by day I am an engineer and a business consultant at night.
But, Ikenna how come you are working on strategy and structure? I mean, you are a storyteller and not a business consultant. Well, that’s where you are wrong. What is a strategy? It is merely a story that shows where you want to go, why you want to go there and what you need to get there. And when you are done creating this story, it only becomes effective if you are able to share this story.
In sharing this story, you need to make use of all the skills I have shared with you over time – connection, use your hands, be vulnerable and show emotions.
However, putting together the story is slightly different. Let me briefly walk you through the process as you get a ring side seat and watch me work with this specific company.
Simon says it is important for a company to define why they do what they do. Adding to this, who you are is closely allied with why you do what you do.
Working together with this management team, I asked them not just to tell me why their company exists but they should illustrate this with a story. You could hear the passion in their voice as they described the value they added to one of their key customers and brought a turn around to the way they worked.
Sometimes you hear a company’s vision and wonder what exactly do they do. To be the best in the world! What does that actually mean?
While working with this team, I explained to them that just like in a story where the hero is working at bringing about a perfect world, they needed to dream up what that perfect world would be. By daring to dream of a perfect world, they also identified the obstacles in the path to bring about this perfect world. And that is what your vision is all about – what do you see as a perfect world and just as importantly, what are you going to do to overcome these challenges and make that dream come to pass?
This always feels like marketing slogans and nice words that companies use. Working with a company once, they simply suggested that their marketing team should come up with the values which they should work by. That directly tells you what is wrong.
Just like your personal values are a guiding lamp for you and help you decide on what to do and more importantly not do, a company’s values should be guardrails on the journey to their vision. As an example, my clients believe excellence is one of their values. I asked them to exemplify it using a story. They shared a tale with me of their conscious decision to only use the best of equipment. How the entire industry is diluted with substandard service/products and yet people come to them in the knowledge that you may pay a premium but will get value in e
Why am I sharing all this with you? Partly my way of sharing what I have been doing, but also to show you another application of storytelling. Going back to usefulness of stories as a leader, it is in the place of stories that you can make vision come alive.
Do you have a vision for your team? Have you ever asked yourself about the purpose (vision and identity) of your team? Get in touch today.