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What is strategic storytelling and why do you need it in your company?

June 24, 2020

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The opinions of the employees of s You are personal.


What is strategic storytelling and why do you need it in your company?What is strategic storytelling and why do you need it in your company?

Without a doubt, while you wait in the lobby or after getting a company that you visited (or maybe in your own company!), you found three or four colored and framed printed signs that everyone can see. The characters have clearly visible titles: MISSION, VISION and VALUES.

The definition of these elements has been an integral part of the strategic planning of companies for decades and is usually carried out together with other key elements such as the business plan, goals and targets.

But – and read carefully here – Most of those I meet seem to have been made without much introspection, research, or technique, which they usually turn into: dead words stuck to a wall. Your company’s mission, vision, and values ​​(and a fourth element that we’ll see later) are much more important than you imagine. They are like words, powerful and have the power of prophecy: well done, they can be a beacon and a compass and lead you through difficult times; offer you motivation and meaning. If they are badly done, they can choke your own business, choke it, or get you lost.

It doesn’t matter whether your company has three or three thousand employees. In these days when we were forced to take a break, this is the ideal time to take a few hours – or days – off the agenda and think about who you are and where you want to go. It’s time to review the four key questions when defining a business – if you already have it – or to answer it if you haven’t already:

  • Mission: This is me? What I do? What makes me special

  • View: Why do I do this? Where do I want to go? What is the world i want to build

  • Values: What things are important to me and not negotiable?

  • History: Where do I come from? When, how, who do we start? How were our first years?

1. MISSION: WHAT I AM AND WILL BE

You have to be adaptable. Photo: Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash.

The typical mission in the lobby is: “Our mission is the sale and distribution of auto parts for the Ford and Volkswagen brands, with excellent quality, at a good price and with excellent service.”

How can it be improved? A mission, says Chris Bart, must contain three basic elements: the market, the product, and the strategic difference. The mistake in the mission usually follows two excesses: be too general or too specific.

In the first case there is no contribution. “We sell high-quality auto parts” is a bad definition that does not speak of the company itself, but could be applicable to any other company in this area. Test: Read your own mission aloud: If you see that this could apply to your competitors, check what makes you different from others and make it clear.

The second case is the growth killer: an overly specific mission that does not allow evolution or innovation. Few remember that in direct competition with Blockbuster, Netflix started renting physical films by mail. When the digital revolution came, Netflix’s mission (“Bring Entertainment Home”) enabled us to evolve into a digital platform and then to produce content without losing its essence. Blockbuster’s mission (“Stores that rent movies and games”) has not progressed. The rest is history.

Think of your mission as a mission when writing: as specific as possible, but can go far beyond where you can see. A well-written mission promotes creativity, long-term vision and innovation.

2. VISION: ME WHY AND THE IDEAL WORLD

Where are you going? Photo: Depositphotos.com

The typical vision in the lobby is: “To be the leading auto parts company in the west of the country and to satisfy our customers’ needs with excellence.”

How can it be improved? The first problem with many of the “visions” is that they relate to themselves, Simon Sinek says in his book “The infinite game“” The vision that drives companies that go far is not a vision of themselves, but of the world they want to create.

Henry Ford’s vision was “a car in every garage”. To achieve this, it revolutionized science and industry, reinvented the production lines and promoted the automotive world we know. But the problem is: when the big vision is reached, where is it going? Decades ago, the Ford Motor Company was no longer the inspiration or the leader in the industry they created. They make cars. But the world of the future is not a world of cars.

“The vision must be infinite” Simon Sinek insists and refers to the world we want to reach: our ideal dream. In this sense, Elon Musk – including founders of Tesla and SpaceX – has always presented a much more inspiring vision than it actually did. it seems impossible. Elon Musk decided that he wanted to give the world an exit door to the cosmos and space exploration that would give humanity hope for the future. Musk’s vision is not to manufacture cheap, reusable rockets or to install a human base on Mars. These are all just steps; Steps in a broader and infinite view. Every new service opens the door to new services. The dream, the vision are always there: always out of reach, but always closer today than yesterday.

You don’t have to go to Mars to have an ideal: even an auto parts store or taco restaurant can have a more infinite, more human, and broader vision: creating human value, changing society, promoting culture, helping others, changing to Mexico, feeding hungry children. Think of the world you want to reach. If your company doesn’t bring you closer to this world, look for another company. The vision is what makes you get up every morning and go new ways to grow, go further and reach more people. Money won’t: but your ideals will. Find them, write them down and invite others to accompany you on the street. That is your vision.

3. VALUES: NON-NEGOTIABLE THINGS

All of your employees must fit and be aware of your company’s values. Photo: Depositphotos.com

Typical lobby values ​​say: “Honesty, teamwork, punctuality … or whatever. Generally a random list of values ​​that we find on Wikipedia.”

How can it be improved? Remember that especially the Strategic storytelling It is the story that you tell yourself, your company and your employees. If done correctly, they will be your own future. It is an internal strategy that can only be passed on to customers if it is real and lived consistently within the company.

It’s easy to say, “Our customers come first” or “Honesty comes first” or put value on the wall. But how are these values ​​lived? Are they really the way business is done in the company every day? If someone were outside in your office for a day, would the style in which these values ​​are present every day be obvious to that person?

An easy way to rethink your values ​​is as follows:

  1. Reduced. Delete all ten values ​​and choose only three. This will force you to think, recognize, and determine a hierarchy.

  2. Concrete. Values ​​that are not habits or part of daily corporate style do not go beyond good wishes.

  3. Communicate. Everyone in your organization needs to know and remember them all the time.

  4. Shows. When it is time to make difficult decisions (e.g. in the face of a crisis or an event), make this clear and make decisions in accordance with the values ​​that you have set for yourself.

  5. To repeat. Your values ​​have become actions … and your actions have become habits that ultimately become your character and thus your destiny.

4. MY STORY: Where do I come from?

First office at Amazon.com. Photo: Nathan Miller on Twitter

What we see in the lobby: Usually nothing. Sometimes an old photo.

How can we improve it: He Basics of storytellingor the story of how a company started to exist; in front of customers or money; Before success or success, when everything was an impossible dream, it has become one of the central elements in the development of corporate culture at the end of the last century and today.

Surely you’ve heard the story of how Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple in a garage in Palo Alto, California, with a vision and some borrowed parts from Hewlett Packard. The Garage company became an icon of the Silicon Valley movement that inspired thousands of new entrepreneurs. But listen: all companies have gone through their “garage” moment, which is a leap of trust in the void and differentiates employees from entrepreneurs. The risk, the decision, the courage and the resilience.