Something got me thinking about City of Port Phillip’s Non Crime Hotline this morning. They have a phone number you call to report good news stories. I rang the council and found that Peter Strecker was now in charge of this initiative and he told me that it was in hibernation. It turned out that they got very few calls. There received some great stories,
like the one about the busker who had a fight erupt in front of him so he started playing “Always look on the bright side of life” and everyone started laughing and the fight stopped.
But there wasn’t enough to sustain the program. So why are we reluctant to share positive stories?
Perhaps part of the reason is that it’s hard to see the impact sharing a positive story might have. When we tell the busker story we can see it’s amusing and uplifting but perhaps not that instructional unless you’re a busker. Whereas a negative story gives us a warning on what to avoid. Consequently we are only willing to exert a small effort to pass on positive stories and ringing a hotline and listening to a recorded message might be too much of an impost. If we were aggrieved in some way (a negative story) we probably have more energy to have our story heard and therefore more willing to jump through some hoops.
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: