Storytelling Beats Objectivity

In a meeting, a leader says, “we have a pressing agenda item, we have to make our distribution channel aware of the correct use of our products. We will be rolling out training for our staff on how to do that.”

Now the statement made by the leader aims at immense objectivity and as a result has stripped away dimensions of human viewpoints, emotions and goals.

What the leader will benefit from understanding here is that objectivity operates as a distancing device.

How about the leader changes his/ her words to, ” Last week an 8 month old baby almost died because our distribution channel was unable to educate the consumers on the right use of our products. Transcriptions of customer-care hotline calls revealed  to us we have received over 25 calls last week that indicate lack of knowledge on use of our products by our distribution channel which is shocking and alarming 

As a result, we are going to introduce a training program for our staff  on how to educate our distribution channel on right use of our product. 

If you feel the second narrative works better, then you are like most people. The second narrative includes a story. Some may argue it is not a story but for a modern hectic corporate world, it is a perfect story which doesn’t rely on richly developed narratives. It appreciates the time poor nature our corporate audience live in and focuses on the message versus getting consumed by the character. This is the best form of storytelling for the modern day leader.

Why does the second narrative work?

  • Most likely you as a teller will witness visual cues like, gasp, responsive gaze etc which confirms formation of deep accord between the teller and the listener.
  • The listeners will participate in the narrative by expressing their views and dissapointment upon hearing the teller. They may even offer their view points on how to make this situation better.
  • The second narrative lends itself to opening a discussion which can broaden in to areas that would be otherwise hard to broach/

We choose objectivity for clarity in communication but rarely make the change happen with it.

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