When you think about it, much of everyday business is communicated through stories, just as knowledge has been shared among people throughout history. Whether your organization is large or small, you as manager or leader have the power to motivate and inspire your employees, increase your firm’s productivity, improve organizational morale, build interdepartmental trust and cooperation, and attain your management objectives – all through the age-old art of storytelling.
Corporate Legends & Lore examines the role of storytelling in organizations, and its capacity to strengthen the culture and spirit of the workplace. The stories people tell can be positive and inspiring or negative and destructive to the future of a business and the people who work in it. Either way, stories are a driving force that can help to shape your organization’s destiny.
One of the most powerful of cultural tools, storytelling has been used by every society ever studied. Veteran members of a group use storytelling to train new members by passing on values, rules of behavior, and the language of their group. Storytelling is also used to protect and keep alive valuable truths that have been learned from the past and to create new visions for the future. Whether it’s a tribe in the jungles of South America or a global high-tech corporation, every culture uses storytelling to protect its heritage and point the way to its future.
Unfortunately, this powerful tool is often misused in organizations to reinforce and protect their weaknesses. Furthermore, an organization that has a habit of telling a high percentage of negative stories about itself is in danger of being destroyed from within. The disintegration may be gradual, but the symptoms of cynicism and anger are easy to spot.