December, 2018 | Published by Anecdote - Putting Stories to Work.
Seasons Greetings! Welcome to the December edition of Anecdotally. Each month we share three things: a story, a storytelling tip and an interesting article. We hope you enjoy this month's content!
Reading time for this issue: 3 minutes
A STORY: When baggage really flies
Last month on our podcast, Anecdotally Speaking, Mark shared the story of how Southwest Airlines’ purpose to ‘democratise the skies’ helped the airline add over $1 billion to their bottom line.
You can watch Mark retell this story in 140 seconds by clicking on the image below.
You can listen to the entire episode, and learn where to use this story, here.
A TIP: What might Amazon’s six-page narrative structure look like?
Our most popular blog post of 2018 was Shawn's 'What might Amazon’s six-page narrative structure look like?' The post explores Jeff Bezos’ move to ban PowerPoint within Amazon’s senior team meetings. Instead, they use a six-page narrative memo, which executives have up to 30 minutes to read and consider before the meeting starts.
To craft a similar narrative memo, you can use our clarity story pattern:
In the past it was like this...
Then something happened…
So now we should do this…
So the future might be like this…
Clarity stories are best used to explain a series of events, and how one event can impact another. They help us understand cause and effect and make predictions, so we can choose a course of action.
AN ARTICLE: To get people to embrace change, emphasise what will stay the same
HBR recently published a piece of research highlighting the need to emphasise continuity when communicating organisational change.
Common belief has it that by explaining what is wrong with the current situation, and how change will result in a better future, leaders can overcome resistance to change. However, authors Merlijn Venus, Daan Stam and Daan van Knippenberg find this approach will more likely fuel employee fears.
For employees who identify with and care for their organisation, change is undesirable. Effective change leadership should therefore emphasise continuity, particularly in relation to the identity of the organisation.
According to the authors, “the implications of this research are straightforward… leaders need to communicate an appealing vision of change in combination with a vision of continuity. Unless they are able to ensure people that what defines the organisation’s identity — ‘what makes us who we are’ — will be preserved despite the changes, leaders may have to brace themselves for a wave of resistance.”
When using our clarity story pattern, we similarly encourage leaders to emphasise continuity and to acknowledge the contributions employees have made to the organisation in the past.