Stories to convey values

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —July 15, 2006
Filed in Anecdotes

I’m re-reading Steve Denning’s The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling and having fun chasing down the footnotes and references. I thought I’d share with you some of the resources and examples I find by reading the book in detail. For example Tyco, a global business employing 250,000 people, include in their guide to ethical conduct illustrative anecdotes for each topic covered in the guide including:

  • equal employment
  • gifts, and
  • fraud

A Tyco employee can read the dot points and clearly defined guidelines then supplement their understanding by reading the anecdotes.

Here is one of the anecdotes for ‘Gifts’ with the heading ‘Bribes and Inappropriate Gifts Look Like …’:

Andreas, a project manager, is waiting for a permit for the expansion at his facility. An official at the local zoning board informs him that things could move more quickly if he paid an “express fee.”

About  Shawn Callahan

Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:


  1. Matt Moore says:

    Now Shawn, I’m interested that you picked on a Tyco example. Is this because Tyco’s former CEO & CFO were convicted of fraud? And yet the anecdotes deal with lower-level employees? No “Dennis decides to thrown a multi-million dollar party for his wife. Should he expense it to his company?”
    I had to complete an elearning module on ethical conduct when starting my new role. It had plenty of “Juan is tempted to book sales early. Should he do so?” type questions.
    Where are you going with this?

  2. Obviously the CEO didn’t find any anecdotes that resonated with him 🙂
    The Tyco example comes from Steve’s book and I thought it provided a good illustration of how a set of anecdotes can help portray a grey area for people. I agree that there should be anecdotes in there targeting the senior execs.
    Personally I think the anecdotes work better than the questions, like the ones you posed, because it avoids accusatorial tone and allows the reader ask the questions for themselves.
    Now I’m not sure what you mean by ‘Where are you going with this?’ Perhaps you can rephrase the question 🙂

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