Storytelling Beats Objectivity

In a meeting, a leader who is a leading a company that sells baby food says,

“we have a pressing agenda item, we have to educate our distribution on the right use of our products. Hence, we will be rolling out a training programme 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 emotions, aspirations and a connection.

What the leader will benefit from understanding here is what Steve Denning has taught us *objectivity mostly is 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 that 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 programme for our staff on how best to educate our distribution channel on the right use of our products.

If you feel the second narrative works better, then you are like most people. The second narrative includes a story.

Why does the second narrative work better ?

  • 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. And if your communication is not leading to an action, why are you communicating at the first place?

Storytelling beats objectivity and makes the change happen.

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"I attended your story telling course some time back. And I've enjoyed keeping up my knowledge with your blog. You may not have realised however, that the Whole of Government is implementing Internet Seperation. Hence I'm not able to access the links to read your articles. Could I suggest including a QR code in your emails so that I can use my mobile to scan it and gain immediate access to the article? It would be most helpful"