Hardwired to tell stories
Leadership is all about effective communication. It is not uncommon for leaders to scratch their heads when it comes to getting their people on board and engaged in the process of implementing a new vision, strategy and set of values.
Linked to the use of visuals is the power of storytelling. According to research by Professor Allan Fels, (Dean of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government), humans are hardwired to tell and listen to stories. His research concluded that 70% of what we learn is through stories and that storytelling is essential for innovation. Thinking about it, we should not be a surprised that we are so good at telling and listening to stories and that stories are so effective. It’s only relatively recently in human history that the transfer of knowledge has shifted away from storytelling to other, more modern “media”. Despite this shift, storytelling has served us well for thousands of years and continues to do so.
The three communication challenges of leadership
So, how does this link to your challenges as a leader? According to Eva Grayzel, we face three universal leadership communication challenges:
- Do they understand what I am saying?
- Will they remember what I am saying?
- Can they share what I have said with others?
Stories help you achieve traction with all three of these challenges. Furthermore, combining story telling with visualisation amplifies the power of both approaches significantly. It is this principle that lies at the heart of our Big Picture Learning Maps. We take potentially “dry” and disparate business information and convert it into a rich visual story with a compelling narrative. This is packaged up in a way that is easy to share, easy to understand, memorable and “viral”. By viral we mean positive messages that employees can easily replicate share with each other.