It was exciting to visit Mexico again. I was totally blown away with the beauty of Monterrey. It’s like having a city the size of Melbourne nestled among the bluffs of Yosemite National Park. For some reason I was expecting a flat, desert landscape. It reminded me of Singapore somehow but without the tropical downpours.
The state of business storytelling in Mexico is like the early days of Anecdote back in 2004. Back then many people were fascinated by the idea but senior executives couldn’t get past the false thinking that stories are made up and they were not sure how they would help serious business leaders. That surely has changed now.
And just like our experience in the noughties, there are those Mexican business leaders who are ahead of the pack and really get the power of stories and how it would help them with things like employee engagement, embedding company values, strategy execution and branding.
I was impressed with a group of executives at a local bank and their efforts around innovation including having their own R&D lab. Their challenge now was how to have everyone being innovative and understanding what this really means. These guys immediately understood how stories could help, especially if done systematically and with purpose.
We have a long relationship with our partners in Monterrey, the guys from Astrolab. Back in 2011 I ran a public workshop in New York and a few weeks before the event I get an email from a 27-year-old lawyer called Andrés.
In his email he said he and a friend, Óscar, had become very interested in storytelling and they wanted to come to the workshop but as two young guys just starting out they couldn’t afford a ticket. “Do you offer any scholarships?” Andrés asked. I was immediately struck by his passion to learn something new so I said yes. So Óscar and Andrés attended the workshop and sat up the back and didn’t say a word. I later learned that Óscar was feeling unwell all day.
A few months later I received another email from Andrés. “We have quit our jobs and we are starting a storytelling business.” Wow, that’s exciting. It reminded me of starting Anecdote so I asked whether I could help. So as they got started we Skyped and I shared what I had learned running Anecdote with Mark. It wasn’t long before Astrolab was up and flying.
This trip was my first to Astrolab’s home town of Monterrey. They were all single when we first met but now they are all married and very soon will all have children. It was wonderful meeting all their families.
Astrolab will be delivering our Storytelling For Sales program across Latin America. I’m looking forward to my next trip and practicing my rather poor Spanish.
Storytelling For Sales is a 6 month program that turns sellers into star performers. Learn more about it here
About Shawn Callahan
Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one 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:
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