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Why you should stop working and start storytelling

July 23, 2021

Movies, plays, novels, even jokes are forms of storytelling and EVERYONE loves them. There were two brothers, one adored opera, his brother loved pantomime. Different genres, both with stories at their core, there’s not a person alive who doesn’t enjoy a good story, though we may differ in our preferred style of storytelling.

Lisa, a working mum took two highlighter pens to her work diary for the coming week, she shaded some appointments green for boring, others yellow for energising. Unsurprisingly, meetings, listening to presentations, reading reports and attending statutory training were shaded green for dull and de-energising.

As she looked at the week as a whole, 80% of her time would be spent attending tedious activities. She reflected on the energy and enthusiasm of her 6-year-old daughter, Amy. Her days were full of laughter, ideas and discovery. Shouldn’t Lisa’s work be more like Amy’s day?

Not content to live a life dominated by ‘green’ engagements, Lisa decided to try to turn her diary yellow by seeking out stories.

At the weekly meeting, she restructured the agenda as though it was a movie, identifying the perils, plot and ensuring that the discussion concluded in a happy ending. She challenged the finance director to replace spreadsheets with stories in his monthly presentation and, rather than read the pile of reports on her desk she visited the authors and asked:

· What challenges did they want to overcome?

· What could get in the way?

· Where could they end up?

Not only could she change some of her diary from green to yellow at the end of the week, Lisa felt more energised, tough problems had been solved, exciting new initiatives launched and the team morale was higher than she’d ever known.

Seek out the stories.

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