10 Tidbits – Kevin Bishop – Anecdote – Employee Engagement – Boston Story Course
David Zinger picture of swans at Boston Commons (June 2012)
Stories are engaging. Stories create a fabric and foundation for our organization. Stories powerfully communicate what is going on in employee engagement in our organization.
Kevin Bishop from Anecdote in Australia conducted a one day workshop on story and leadership in Boston this June. I believe Anecdote does terrific work with story and organizations. It was an honor to attend Kevin’s session in Boston. The focus was not directly on employee engagement but I always relate my learning to the world of work and engagement. Here is a list of 10 tidbits I derived from the day. These are my thoughts and not necessarily exact representations of Kevin’s statements or Anecdote’s specific perspective:
- Stories paint images in people’s minds. They are facts wrapped in context and delivered with emotion.
- Be careful about using the word story in many organizations as many people will default on the “once upon a time” limited view of story.
- Jerome Bruner, one of the world’s leading cognitive psychologists, stated that we are 22 times more likely to remember a story than a set of disconnected facts.
- Stories are concrete – they move us away from abstractions.Words like disengagement take on new meaning and a high level of specificity when we talk about the time our boss created a needless and massive setback on the Miller project that lead to two members of our team leaving.
- We need a greater focus on the little stories rather than thinking we need an epic heroic story for our organization.
- Follow 3 pathways to stories: tell, trigger, listen.
- Your behavioral story is stronger than your told story. As a leader even if you don’t tell stories you trigger many stories in your organization. What stories do your actions trigger in employees? How well are you listening to the stories already embedded in your organization?
- We can all benefit from more deliberate practice with our story skills.
- Think of narrative strategy: 1. In the past. 2. Then something happened. 3. What we are going to do. 4. What will we have achieved when we succeed.
- We must go beyond story telling in organizations to a greater focus on how we elicit stories from within our organizations. It may be less about telling a great engagement story and more about asking: “tell me a time you were very engaged in your work, who were you with, what were you doing, what happened?”
What engagement stories are you triggering, telling, and eliciting? For a more direct understanding of story and leadership visit the Anecdote site.
David Zinger is an employee engagement expert who is keenly interested in story and uses story extensively in his engagement work. Contact David today to speak and work on the story of engagement at your organization or conference.