Stories shape the behaviors that build the culture that drives epic performance

Earlier this year I sat in a three-day master class with Shawn Callahan of the communications firm Anecdote from Melbourne, Australia. He is the co-creator of Storytelling for Leaders training program that they’ve taught to brands for 13 years.

But despite the popularity of business storytelling these days, relatively few leaders are teaching their troops how to spot stories in their organizations to inspire their people and drive performance. Those that are are driving the brand’s performance.

Toronto-based leadership coach Doug Keeley and I worked with Shawn learning how to teach the four fundamental story patterns you can use to move people to action. These include the connection, clarity, influence and success stories. Doug mentioned a slide he uses in his presentations to underscore the necessity of stories inside an organization to drive performance. I sketched it (As you see, I’m a writer, not an illustrator).


The perpetual motion of true stories well told

When leaders use and encourage storytelling in their organizations, they create a virtuous cycle of culture-building. Leadership storytelling:

  • Shapes the behaviors that get your team all pulling in the same direction
  • The collective behaviors build winning cultures
  • Culture drives performance

Stories drive performance.

I am now a certified coach for the Storytelling for Leaders training program. You’ll learn the techniques you need to better influence, engage and inspire others – just as hundreds of leaders already have, from Melbourne to New York, London to Singapore.

“Entrepreneurs who make a difference are, in effect, professional storytellers.” – Richard Branson

If you don’t believe storytelling is right for you, just listen to Sir Richard Branson on NPR’s podcast, How I Built This with Guy Raz. Not only will you hear captivating storytelling from a master, but you will see how it has been his key to success throughout all of his enterprises.

Organizations are changing quickly. Structures are flatter and reporting lines more complex. Staff and customers are spread around the world. And everyone is deafened by the ‘noise’ of information inundation. Yet, today, you must influence and persuade in this constantly fluid environment.

Famous Las Vegas resort kingpin, Steve Wynn, says storytelling is his most competitive advantage.

The sharing of stories orally is a powerful way of cutting through. When we tell stories, people ‘get’ what we are saying – and they remember it. This is the case whether we are communicating informally (which is what we do most of the time) or in a more formal environment such as a presentation.

“Other presentations were dry and heavy, but the Yammer presentations really stood out because we were telling stories versus merely sharing data.” A Storytelling for Leaders participant describes the way storytelling changed her presentations. Click here to hear more.

More than just storytelling

Storytelling for Leaders will teach you a systematic method for becoming a better, more confident storyteller. However, the program goes further. You will also learn how to use the magic of stories to get more from others:

  • Story-triggering involves a leader doing something remarkable enough that it inspires people in the organization to recount what happened. We show you how you can do this successfully.
  • Story-listening is the art of getting others to share stories. You’ll learn how to elicit stories from others, build stronger connections and gain a better understanding of what’s really happening.

More than a workshop

Storytelling for Leaders is not a one-off workshop but a complete six-month program. It includes:

  • A full one-day workshop. The workshop is highly interactive as we strongly believe in the power of practical activities to foster learning. Throughout the day you will engage in hands-on activities designed to build your storytelling skills and confidence. See the workshop in action here.
  • Our unique Deliberate Practice Program (DPP). This workplace-based program includes six modules, spread over six months, which will embed and enhance what was learned in the workshop. Most of the learning you do will occur in the workplace, during the DPP, rather than at the workshop.

The Deliberate Practice Program includes online support, with the opportunity to ask questions and share your experiences at any time.

“The workshop covered a lot of territory in a way that combined analytical rigor with a clear and informal delivery. I recommend it without reservation.”

Who should attend?

Storytelling for Leaders is beneficial to anyone whose role requires them to influence, engage and inspire others. Previous participants have included:

  • Senior leaders
  • Project managers
  • Salespeople
  • Consultants
  • Trainers

Get your story on and join us for this training program that will not change how you see your organization, but how to see the world for the better.

About Business of Story

Park Howell has been in advertising and branding for more than 30 years. He has helped companies of all sizes get their brand story straight to grow their enterprise and their people. As a complement to his brand story strategy services, Park now offers the proven Storytelling for Leadership as a certified partner with Anecdote.

Park Howell | Storytelling Brand Strategist

About Anecdote

Anecdote is a management consulting firm recognized as a world leader in the use of storytelling in business. We have helped some of the world’s leading companies, such as IBM, Shell, BHP Billiton and KPMG develop their storytelling and leadership capability.

Anecdote has offices in three locations in Australia, and partners in the UK, India, Mexico and Singapore. We deliver projects and programs right across the globe.