What’s Your Story?

books

My paternal grandfather (I knew him as “Grandpa”) passed away in 1994. A few years ago, my parents gave me a box of books they had salvaged from an old barn on the Ohio farm where he and my grandmother had lived. Many of them were ruined, having been damaged by time and exposure to the elements. But a handful remain in good enough condition to display and even read.

My favorites are the books from his childhood. Grandpa had an adventurous spirit and the books he collected as a boy reflect that. With titles such as “The Country Beyond” and “The Port of Missing Men,” they practically beg to be read. I like to picture Grandpa reading them late into the night; burrowed under the bedcovers with a flashlight so as not to upset his parents.

I love a good story. The best ones draw you in with vivid descriptions of characters and worlds so compelling you want to know more about them. They weave a narrative with ups and downs, twists and turns, and events that keep you turning the page in anticipation of the next chapter. Reading a good story makes you want to become part of it. The best demand that you revisit them again and again.

Of course, we are all, part of our own stories. The stories of our lives – our adventures, our families, and our careers. Organizations have stories too. And just like a good book, the best ones draw you in. When a company has a good story, you want to learn more. You want to find out what happens next. You want to become part of the story yourself.

Every organization has a story. Too often though, those involved don’t know what the story is – or how to tell it.

Have you ever thought about the story of your organization? Your department? Your team? There are people waiting to hear it. Customers, other employees, vendors, shareholders – they’re all looking for an adventure to be part of. They’re all yearning for a great story to make their own. All you have to do is put together one that is compelling enough to draw them in.

If you’re not sure how to share the story of your organization, I encourage you to spend a little time thinking about it. It doesn’t have to be long; a few sentences will do. But you should be able to speak about your business and its mission with the same level of energy and passion with which you recount the adventures of your weekend.

Here are a few questions to consider when crafting your particular story:

  • Who are the characters in your story? What makes them interesting?
  • What circumstances brought your story’s characters together? What are they trying to achieve? Why is this a worthy adventure?
  • What obstacles have been encountered and how were they overcome? What new challenges lie ahead?
  • As one of the central characters in the story, what role do you play? How are you helping to move the action along?
  • How can those who hear your story become part of it? What can they add to the tale?

Now try your hand at crafting your story. Share with the rest of the team and see what they think. If you’re willing, I’d love for you to share it with me. Like I said, I love a good story.

 

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