Creating powerful moments to trigger stories in the workplace

create powerful moments

We recently began an Anecdote book club for the office. For our first book, we read The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact.

The authors, Chip and Dan Heath, wanted to explain what a moment is and how you can purposefully create these moments to have more impact on things like a person’s first day at work or the day that you’re accepted into your dream degree. They’ve included case studies at the end of each ‘Part’ so that we can easily visualise ways to implement their steps for creating moments. Overall, we really enjoyed it – it’s the first book in a little while that I’ve finished quickly. It sort of had the same feel as Malcom Gladwell’s books, as it usually centred around a certain example and used that to explain a concept.

Throughout the book, the Heath brothers explain that different moments offer different outcomes. For example, one type of moment can allow us to create new trajectories for ourselves by doing what they call ‘tripping over the truth’.

The Heath brothers share an important moment for Doug Dietz, who designed MRI machines for General Electric. After the MRI machine he spent two years designing was installed in a hospital, he excitedly waited to see the reaction of the first patients who would use it. The very first was a mother, father and young daughter. The girl was crying. She was terrified of going into the room with the MRI machine, let alone into the machine itself. Dietz was devastated, but this crucial moment led to him rethinking the machine as well as the overall experience. It inspired him to create GE’s “Adventure Series”, which includes MRI rooms and machines being themed with things like pirates and jungles. Kids love it.

It’s moments like these that make stories visual. You can imagine the young girl crying as her parents gently coax her towards the sterile room with the MRI machine.

During our book club discussions, we agreed that the act of creating moments is a form of story-triggering. The Heath brothers include an example of this. The strategy and marketing team for John Deere heard that employees were not as engaged in Asia as they were in places where the brand was better known. So, they created the First Day Experience for new employees. It involves getting a John Deere Friend for your first day who shows you around, a large display in the foyer featuring your name and a welcome message, a six-foot banner near your desk that signals to other employees that you’re new and to say hi, a small gift, a message from the CEO, etc. You can imagine how many people they tell about their first day. The experience creates a story.

This is a powerful way to create more stories within your organisation. It can take ordinary moments that are usually squandered and turn them into memorable experiences people will share with others. If you have a chance, I’d suggest reading the book which you can find here. It’s made us at the Anecdote office rethink what moments we can be creating to trigger more stories for the people around us.

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Shelley Fenech About  Shelley Fenech

Shelley is a recent Strategic Communication graduate and assists with all things communication. She helps to progress our purpose to help restore humanity to organisations by telling our story through marketing and social media. She also supports our global Partner network in their quest to bring storytelling into business.


  1. Stuart Reid says:

    Hi Shelley! Funnily enough, ‘The Power of Moments’ is the next book I’ll be reading for my business book club. So it’s good to know you enjoyed it! As I read it, I’ll be thinking about the implications for storytelling.

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