Stories are our natural way to plan. We imagine how things are going to work out, who are the players, what incidents might befall us and what we’re going to do to avoid these traps. We remember what happened last time and what we must steer clear of. We think about those good bits we want happening everywhere in our company. We envisage the opportunities and understand the sequence of events we believe are necessary to make it happen. And then, if we are like most executives, we encapsulate our strategy in a set of dot points that immediately strips it of most of its meaning. It becomes a shell of its former self, a strategic skeleton.
What often happens next involves dangling these strategic bones at one or more major gatherings of the company. We launch our strategies and leaders say things like, “This new strategy will guide our actions and decisions for the next period of growth”. But the context is missing. Employees find it hard to understand, and remember. What’s the significance? What does it look like in practice? And as a result they find it difficult to see their place in the strategy. They also find it hard to see the strategy in their own workplace. “What do we actually do?” they say. There’s little to connect their own story to the company’s mission.
It doesn’t need to be like this.
Anecdote’s program keeps the stories in your strategy so that employees understand its meaning and significance while encouraging everyone to actively participate in the strategic process. Our aim is to harness the natural power of stories to bring your strategy to life. The primary objective is to help everyone in the company identify the vital behaviours that must be in place for the strategy to succeed. And then we help create the opportunities to design and implement small changes to bring those behaviours about. And in doing so really making your strategy stick.
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: