Storytelling Passes the Productivity Test 3 of 10

Could a simple story led interaction with another person dramatically increase your productivity?

Let’s answer this question

Maria and Sue work for a technology company. Maria works as a Business Development Manager and Sue is the software engineer.

Maria meets a new client finds out what they need, writes a proposal in conjunction with other team members and if the clients likes the proposal the deal is sealed.

After that Maria hands over the execution of the project to Sue and gets busy trying to find another client.

However, Sue is confused and frustrated with what has been sold and there is a lot of back and forth between them leading to unproductive hours, disagreements and client dissatisfaction.

Sounds familiar?

Quiet a large chunk of unproductive time in a corporate setting is contributed to by disagreements between client facing and non client facing teams. Majority of the time this chasm between the teams is created because of the difference in motivation between the 2 teams.

Have we ever thought why Maria is so motivated to help the client and why Sue comes across as client’s enemy. Sue is NOT the client’s enemy but she comes across as one.

There are 2 reasons behind this chasm

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Here is a research that elaborates this reason.

In his 2007 study, Adam Grant and a team of researchers arranged for one group of call center workers to interact with scholarship students who were the recipients of the school’s fundraising largess. It wasn’t a long meeting — just a five-minute session where the workers were able to ask the students about his or her studies.

But over the next month, that little chat made a big difference. The call center was able to monitor both the amount of time its employees spent on the phone and the amount of donation dollars they brought in. A month later, callers who had interacted with the scholarship student spent more than two times as many minutes on the phone, and brought in vastly more money: a weekly average of $503.22, up from $185.94.

“Even minimal, brief contact with beneficiaries can enable employees to maintain their motivation,” the researchers write in their paper, titled “Impact and the Art of Motivation Maintenance: The Effects of Contact with Beneficiaries on Persistence Behavior,” published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

What can we do?

1. If you are able to invite the client for a Discovery with Story Listening session to your office it would be a perfect choice. The core team who will work on the project should be in the room and Maria should moderate the session and get stories from the client that give us potent information. The answers from the client should be able to articulate the significance of the work Maria and her team are about to do. The team should have an ability to ask questions. I have talked about the importance of asking good questions in my previous blog: So what if your sales person is a great talker and listener

2. If you can’t get the client to your office. Maria should audio record her Story led discovery session with the client and share the recording with the core team. The core team should be able to ask questions which Maria should provide answers for. Listening to the client directly and understanding the significance of the work they do is the key here.

3. DO NOT write a brief ( my pet hate ) and send it over the team for action post your discovery session. An emailed project brief without a conversation leads to disconnected information dissemination which further leads to unproductive hours. Listening, conversations and discovering through that, is important because

“We always know more than we can say, and

we will always say more than we can write down”

– Dave Snowden Founder & Chief Scientific Officer – Cognitive Edge

Now, If you are like Maria you may wonder why do I have to ensure the discovery sessions that articulate the significance have stories? Its my job to listen to the client, distill the information and provide it to my team for action.

Answer : Because stories have the power to provide information and motivation.

Distilled information doesn’t provide motivation.

As a conclusion, yes a simple interaction with another person dramatically increases your productivity and Storytelling is key to this interaction.

Once again Storytelling passes the productivity test

I will elaborate on reason 2 in the next blog




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