Michael Margolis

#239: Evolutionary Storytelling: Beyond Us vs Them

#239: Evolutionary Storytelling: Beyond Us vs Them

As a leader, you have to have faith in the future and even more importantly, you must be able to inspire others to do the same. But over and over, leaders that set out to inspire actually do the opposite because they lead with fear instead of potential. Therefore, revolutionize the way your people see the future by employing narratives that communicate hope and possibility.

My guest this week is left-handed, color-blind, and eats more chocolate than the average human. For those of you who follow storytelling, you can probably guess know who I’m talking about: Michael Margolis. He is the CEO and founder of Storied, a strategic messaging firm specializing in the story of innovation and disruption. He shares with us today powerful insights from his latest book, Story 10x: Turn the Impossible Into the Inevitable.

How many times have you have been in a meeting or at a conference where your boss or the speaker begins their presentation detailing what is wrong? Then, after they have nailed into you the magnitude of problems, they follow by saying, “but we can change it!” Chances are you were not only not inspired, but also felt disheartened and maybe even defensive. This is because storytelling activates two primary hormones in the body: cortisol, which is the fight, flight or freeze hormone and the belonging molecule, oxytocin. So, if you start a story with the problem followed by the resolution, you immediately put your audience in a defensive state because you triggered the release of cortisol.

We are living in a world of perpetual cortisol where we don’t know who to trust and what to believe, so naturally we are taking a more defensive stance. If you start a story with cortisol, we may be setting ourselves up to where we perpetuate the very thing we are trying to overcome. ~Michael Margolis

Ultimately, the resolution is fairly simple, begin with the possibility instead of the obstacle.

The shift from what is wrong to what is possible is what completely changes the tenor of the conversation and how their message is received, especially at the executive leadership level. ~Michael Margolis

Discussed in this Episode

  • How and when to use the Hero’s journey
  • Misunderstandings of business storytelling and the evolution of storytelling
  • Why it is imperative you reshape your narrative to highlight possibility instead of problems

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