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Everyone in business claims that the game has completely shifted. I am opposed. The manner we play the game has evolved, but I believe the game itself is still the same. We have entered a brand-new playground. One thing still underlies the art of influencing…
Where the craft of storytelling meets the world of persuasiveness
I was a classically trained pianist who studied music from my early years through college. I studied with talented instructors, practiced regularly, performed in recitals, and did everything else a good piano student would do. I could play practically any piece of sheet music you put in front of me. There was only one issue. It irked me. I eventually took a complete break from it. A musician friend and I were talking about this, and I expressed my confusion about why I turned down that gift and how it seemed absurd to have such aptitude but no interest. He wasn’t shocked, though. You didn’t detest the piano, he remarked. The music, I say.
If the song you sing isn’t from the heart, what good is it if you’re talented and know every note?
What is this situation related to leadership? I’m making progress.
An organization can be compared to a symphony, with the musicians standing in for the team members and employees and the conductor for the boss. Each artist and their instrument are selected with care. Parts are practiced repeatedly until they are perfect. And every individual note comes together to create a masterpiece that will astound the listener. Similar to how an employee concentrates on his work, the musician focuses on his instrument. In the same way that the customer service division collaborates, the violin team unites for a single cause. Everyone follows the sheet music, which explains how their individual notes and note clusters combine to create a song that benefits the listener—their client—by adding value. A leader must do all of this while also ensuring that his team members care about the song they are playing, much as a conductor ensures that every instrument is playing in unison with the melody. Much like a conductor leads his orchestra to a successful performance, leaders set the tone for the entire organization.
So what does leadership have to do with storytelling?
Between a conductor and his musicians, story serves as a bridge. The music that will be played by their personnel is created by the leaders, who also maintain their enthusiasm for it. A leader can’t expect to offer people job descriptions and call it a day, just as a conductor can’t expect to hand the symphony the music and they’re ready.
Every successful leader must be a skilled storyteller. Why? Because a leader must be able to inspire and motivate a group of people to take action. Today’s leader must do more than just tell people what to do; they must also make them want to do it, whether they are influencing employees, clients, or a market. The distinction is between manipulation and motivation.
More than ever before, workers have mistrust for management. Additionally, according to the most recent Gallup poll, over 70% of employees are disengaged with their jobs, and if this trend continues, it is expected to increase to 86%. This indicates that more than 70% of the current staff has left. They simply haven’t given up yet. Those who don’t give a damn also don’t play wonderful music.
The collection of abilities used by leaders to instruct, educate, and encourage their workforce is strategic storytelling. The ability to frame a goal in the form of a vision and persuade others to buy into it. The use of story as a bridge between an organization and its customer. We are all involved in the persuasion and influence business, regardless of our line of work or position within it. The best instrument we have for conveying knowledge in a way that has real power is a good story.
When they should be concentrating on the narrative, many leaders instead focus on the facts and wonder why their audience isn’t as enthused as they are. Stories sell, facts tell.
Ask me about my new Persuasion Principle (TM) approach, in which I lead you through my seven steps from concept to connection to tale, if you’re interested in learning more about the persuasive power of stories. You will never look at influence the same way again. regardless of the playground you are put in.
Available as a live or virtual speech, workshop, or extended training. To schedule a free consultation, click here. * This was the number of disengaged workers at the time this article was written. Beyond disengagement, we have reached the big resignation by 2022. Get them back or prevent them from going; the time has come.

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