Once upon a time, I win! That is the whole story. This short story completely summarizes the emotion, tension and finality of an epic adventure. From a business perspective, a great story incorporates a foundation for intelligent planning, strategic processes and detailed execution. These story elements are essential to business success because great ideas are only recognized with proper execution. Essentially, the business team must buy into the vision, then fulfillment begins. Storytelling articulates specific and powerful roles in connecting multiple sides toward a mutually desired and emotionally binding outcome. Yet, the only way to achieve the desired outcome, better known as the happy ending, is through incorporating specific elements that execute a satisfying story for customers.
Storytelling Is Content
Too many business leaders mistakenly approach business growth as logic-driven activities where superior reasoning dictates outcomes. This common belief suggests that the best facts in a proposal, or pitch wins. In reality, the winner typically involves emotional connectivity. Written words and communicated attitudes resonate loudly. Truly, how often does a high-powered executive enter a high stakes meeting while wearing the most practical shoes? Success explicitly communicates boldness! To influence, persuade and impose one’s will, somehow the story must articulate the winning side’s superiority. Style, price, brand name, and swagger communicate specific images that reflect perceived value. Communicated stories across visual, audio, or written channels extend beyond verbal communication to include cues that express emotional connectivity. The logic will eventually justify the decision after the emotional experience has dictated it!
Simply, stories connect people because they strike at emotions. Even when logic completes the decision, emotional triggers have already been integrated. In “Storytelling Wins the Best Engagements” by Glenn W Hunter, a critical point emerges as both parties approach entering the engagement: “it is important to realize that the customer has the most important item in the transaction. The customer has the seller’s money!”. This reality applies to goods, services, and ideas. The seller must extract what he believes to be his money from the buyer. Consequently, whether the customer makes a rational, emotional, quantitative, or whimsical decision, understand that the story must communicate decision-making information in a way that the buyer wants to receive it. Otherwise the deal goes nowhere. Eventually, the connection must be established where the buyer trusts the seller, so that the transaction can close. Above all factors, the decision really must feel right!
Storytelling Is Nuance
The next key to engaging under the cloak of Storytelling is the communication’s nuance. Honestly, facts do not execute transactions. Communicated value executes transactions! Interactions get interesting when communicated value reflects subtlety! For example, a customer enters a commercial equipment retailer for a specific machine part. On the surface, a buyer seeks a specific piece of equipment to resume manufacturing. In reality, the buyer desperately needs a piece of equipment ASAP so that manufacturing can resume! Furthermore, the buyer knows that every minute that he spends negotiating on price is one minute of revenue generating productivity that the buyer’s business loses! The reality of commercial transactions are often more complicated than “Give me part number 12 in blue out of the catalogue.” It is terrible business to spend time negotiating $500 in savings while foregoing $10,000 in revenue productivity!
Regarding business dealings, the “Happily Ever After” typically occurs after much work and sacrifice. Whether the deal involves products, services, or the latest, greatest acquisition, integrating the purchase into established processes comes with challenges. Routine products most likely integrate seamlessly into their designed function. However, innovative services or products may involve training, adjustments, or additional headcount. Because storytelling is designed to create more vivid understanding, it helps in navigating complex entanglements. Furthermore, creating a culture that emphasizes information moving from person to person, much like a memorable story moves, results in significantly stronger outcomes. Literally, regularly reminding an operations team about the company’s equivalent to the “Three Little Pigs” story could be the vehicle to create stronger physical structures that insure safety. No one wants to be involved in having their house blown down because someone was lazy!
Ultimately, business operations should be designed to perform smoothly. The content that is involved with instructions or processes works best when readily available and easily digested. In most cases embedded operations already know how specific widgets interact with the adjacent functions’ responsibilities. That is training’s job. Regarding nuance, proper repetition is the secret sauce for business operations to continue performing according to plan. Ultimately, happy endings result from executing according to expectations. Expectations regularly extend beyond targets because true competitors realize that complacency can lead to elimination. Frankly, disobeying operational content, or being lazy toward urgent business processes, results in consequences without a happy ending. Any functioning business can perform ordinary tasks consistently from procurement to delivery. To achieve consistently happy endings, business leaders must enforce cultures that innovate, follow directions, and work cooperatively. Choose happy endings!
By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC
Author of “Storytelling Wins The Best Engagements“