Stories build teams!
Business storytelling sounds like an weird twist on sales scripting. But it's not. I'm reading a couple books on business storytelling and how to use stories to ignite performance, explain complex concepts and motivate people to be part of a productive team.
Our heritage is more rooted in stories than facts. Or maybe we should say that stories are the way we put facts into context and create meaningful lessons. For example -- you can read an encyclopedia that lists all the mammals of the United States -- but if you hear a story about the deer and bears and squirrels and rabbits that can be found in your own nearby wilderness area, you'll watch for them, their behavior, and their wonder the next time you take a hike.
The same applies to the workplace. If you get a 65 page, legally edited, managerially plotted document telling you about how not to sexually harrass your coworkers, chances are your behavior won't change much. But if you hear stories about how people you know have been harrassed and how your own behaviors have made people feel uncomfortable or intimidated -- your understanding, your motivation and your behaviors are much more likely to change.
That's the power of storytelling. Context PLUS information.
Here are the books I'm reading and finding very relevant and flavorful:
What's Your Story? Using stories to ignite performance and be more successful by Craig Wortmann
Craig Wortmann takes a very visual and educational approach to helping you figure out how your stories apply to various business functions -- from human relations to sales to improved productivity by reducing technology and increasing personal time for sharing experiences -- through stories, of course~!
The Story Factor: Inspiration, influence, and persuasion through the art of storytelling by Annette Simmons.
Annette Simmons puts storytelling into the context of human communications and relationship building. She simplifies the process of discovering your own unique stories and relating them to your work, your personal life and your community's colorful tapestry.