- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: AMACOM - US; Special ed. edition (13 February 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0814420303
- ISBN-13: 978-0814420300
- Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 2.5 x 23.5 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 558 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 97,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lead With A Story: A Guide To Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, And Inspire Hardcover – 13 Feb 2019
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..".provid[es] the literary tools to create great stories that can teach, motivate and lead." --Wharton Magazine
"If you are a speaker, a teacher, a friend, a pastor, a worker, a leader...you will learn from this book! PICK IT UP!" --I'd Rather Be Craving blog
..".touts the value of story telling as a communication tool for business people." --800-CEO-Read
"Paul Smith is the consummate storyteller, but he is also a generous, sharing teacher who imparts a great deal of wisdom in his book." --ForeWord Reviews
..".outlines a comprehensive, yet very practical guide to telling stories in business...a must read for anyone who engages with customers, stakeholders and employees." --CMSWire.com
..".thoughtful, meaty, comprehensive and seriously useful... profoundly straightforward and helpful..." --Authentic Organizations
..".anyone could pick up the book, understand the actionable advice, and begin telling their own stories right away." --SalesEngine.com
"Take your leadership skills to a higher level by crafting business stories that captivate, convince, and inspire!" --Management is a Journey
"Buy this book and let it help you find your story. Let Paul Smith show you how to tell that story." --PCB007
From the Inside Flap
Stories move us. They engage us. They inspire us. Stories give us examples of how to act . . . and how not to act. The best ones stay with us forever.
So why are you still trying to get your ideas across using PowerPoint slides?
Storytelling may be an age-old tradition, but in today’s corporate world, it’s also been embraced as a uniquely powerful business practice. Top organizations utilize it as a means to communicate vision. Forward-thinking business schools now include storytelling courses in their management curriculum. As a leader or a manager, if you’re not using storytelling as a method to rally your troops and convince others of your ideas, you’re missing out on one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal.
Packed with over 100 ready-to-use narratives organized by different business challenges, Lead with a Story helps you get started . . . even if you think you don’t know the first thing about telling a story. The book shows you how to connect with bosses, employees, customers, and others on a deep and immediate level using the power of story. It includes examples from more than 50 organizations in 30 industries and from 15 countries around the world, including companies like Kellogg’s, Merrill Lynch, Procter & Gamble, Verizon, Dun & Bradstreet, Saatchi & Saatchi, and more.
In Lead with a Story, corporate storytelling expert Paul Smith helps you choose a story tailor-made for your own particular need, adapt the ready-made stories, and even craft your own. You’ll learn how to use emotionally driven narrative to:
• Establish a vision for the future
• Set goals and build commitment
• Lead change
• Make recommendations that stick
• Define customer service success and failure
• Mold your organization’s culture and values
• Encourage collaboration and build relationships
• Move people to value diversity and inclusion
• Set policy without rules
• Energize, inspire, and motivate your team
• Help others find passion for their work
• Teach important lessons
• Provide coaching and feedback
• Demonstrate problem solving
• Empower others
• Delegate authority and give permission
• Encourage innovation and creativity
• Earn respect from day one
• And much more
Stories do much more than entertain—they actually engage your audience’s brains, creating an experience in which they learn a lesson, share a belief, and envision results as if they were there. This enormously practical and inspiring book lets you in on one of the most important leadership techniques that exists, and shows you how to use it naturally and effortlessly in every area of your work
PAUL SMITH is director of Consumer & Communications Research at The Procter & Gamble Company and a highly rated keynote speaker and trainer on leadership and communication. He lectures regularly for the MBA programs at Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati. Paul lives can be found online at www.leadwithastory.com.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
There was a time, notes author Paul Smith, when a personal computer was “considered a toy and unworthy of a place on any serious leader’s desk.” That has long passed, and Smith explains that so too is our suspicion of storytelling.
Sharing the key issues of this book with my colleagues at Gateways I was surprised how many of these mature ex-corporate directors were using story telling actively in their work.
Nike refers to all their executives as “corporate storytellers,” and Notre Dame and De-Paul University are teaching storytelling as part of their management curriculum. Other companies that use storytelling as a primary leadership tool include Microsoft, Motorola, 3M, Saatchi & Saatchi, Berkshire Hathaway, Disney, Costco, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Southwest Airlines, FedEx, Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark, and The World Bank.
Storytelling has always been a part of a leader repertoire in the past. The Celtic culture had bards and Druids, the Norsemen told sagas, Mongolians and Siberians listened to the tales of the shaman, and the Ute tribes of America made accomplished storytellers their leaders.
The reason for the importance of storytelling is hardly surprising. Communication is successful when it is impactful and is remembered by the listener. Good stories are impactful and memorable. To prove this point, consider when last you returned home and shared with your partner an outstanding PowerPoint slide. Then consider when last you shared a story.
The value of this book lies in three areas. The first is that it has a collection of over 100 usable stories. The second is that it describes how to create good stories. The third is where to use good stories to increase your leadership effectiveness. Five leadership themes are presented together with insightful stories that assist and dealing with the issues.
Three stories presented in the book will illustrate the value.
There is a much-used story of three men laying bricks. A passer-by asks each one what he is doing. The first says he is just laying bricks. The second describes the dimensions of the wall he building. The third explains he is building a cathedral. An argument breaks out between the first two about an extra brick one has laid. The third bricklayers explains to the other two that since they will be plastering anyway, it really does not matter, and they can get on with the next layer.
The story can be used to explain to a group why a clear understanding of the purpose of their work is so important. Without the understanding of purpose, the bricklayers might well have wasted time doing what did not need to be done.
“If you understand the overall objectives of your organization and how your work fits into it, it not only helps you do your job better, it enables you to help others do their job better” explains Smith. This novel twist to a well-known story will make explaining why understanding purpose is so vital in a way other forms of explanation could not achieve.
Many leaders have experienced the frustration of trying to get busy colleagues to read an important document that requires their understanding.
Staff at Bristol-Myers Squibb once created a future story and printed it in the format of London’s Financial Times newspaper, which they knew was their president’s newspaper of choice. The paper was slipped under his door with the headline: “Bristol-Myers Squibb Named Top-Ranked Global Pharmaceutical Company.” In the article they described what they wanted the president to know of their 50-page strategy document.
This story inspired similar tactics at Xerox Corporation, Braun, and Procter & Gamble for a similar purpose. Only relating such a story could have inspired the use of this tactic.
When first grader is told that the bus he takes home has changed, it is a stressful experience. There are so many, and mistakes are easy to make.
When the Dad saw his child could not sleep after being told of the change, he dressed the little boy up in his school clothes as if he was at school. “Pretend you’re in class, and the teacher says it’s time to go…” They went through the process; the child was calm and then went to sleep.
Telling this story to a group responsible for complex change in an organization will likely elicit the same stress reaction. Sharing the story with change agents will allow them to tackle the appropriate response to their context with understanding.
A metaphor can capture the power of a complete story.
In May 2007, CEO Scott Ford of Alltel concluded the takeover of his firm. In his presentation to the new owners he was expected to give a detailed presentation on how to run the company.
He used only two slides. The first picture was of a tightrope walker on a cable crossing the Niagara Falls. Against this slide Scott explained to the executives that “running this business was a constant balance between providing the level of customer service their subscribers demand and delivering the cash flow required for a good return on investment.”
The second slide was even more important— not to Scott , but to his audience.
his second slide was a picture of a man getting into a yellow cab on a busy New York City street— an image
Scott emphasized, is that waiting for that moment is a bit like trying to hail a cab in New York. You might have to wait a while. So when a yellow cab does pull over to pick you up, you’d better get in. You might not get another chance for a long time.
They had received an offer from Verizon to buy the company for $ 28.1 billion, and he wanted to know what Scott thought of the offer and if they should sell. Scott sat quietly on the other end of the phone with a knowing smile on his face. The executive finally broke the awkward silence with the answer to his own question, “This is the yellow cab, isn’t it, Scott?”
Lastly, let’s talk about a situation that happens far more often than we’d like to admit. What do you do when you’re asked to give a presentation but you don’t believe in the topic?
I once heard a comedian complain about a frustrating phone call he had suffered through. He had moved out of his apartment six weeks earlier and still hadn’t received his deposit check. He’d left the place immaculate , so he knew he should be getting it back. He called the apartment manager’s office. Sally
answered the phone. He told her who he was and asked when his deposit check would be coming in the mail. She said she’d have to ask the manager. After a short pause, she returned and said very matter-of-factly, “Your deposit will be returned when those funds are released.” It wasn’t her response that got the audience rolling in the aisle laughing. It was the startled look of disbelief on the comedian’s face as he dramatized his reaction to it. He wasn’t so much upset that she’d given him such a useless answer as he was shocked that she gave him the useless answer and then sat there waiting for him to respond . . . as if she had said anything of value to respond to! She clearly didn’t understand the manager’s words any better than the comedian did. But she just passed them along to him anyway. Of course, she had to go back to the manager to ask when the funds would be released, and what that depended on. Don’t be Sally. You can’t explain something until you really understand it yourself.
10 of the most compelling reasons I’ve encountered: 1. Storytelling is simple. 2 Anyone can do it. You don’t need a degree in English, or even an MBA. 2. Storytelling is timeless. 3 Unlike fads in other areas of management such as total quality management, reengineering, Six Sigma, or 5S, storytelling has always worked for leadership, and it always will. 3. Stories are demographic-proof. 4 Everybody—regardless of age, race, or gender— likes to listen to stories. 4. Stories are contagious. They can spread like wildfire without any additional effort on the part of the storyteller. 5. Stories are easier to remember. According to psychologist Jerome Bruner, facts are 20 times more likely to be remembered if they are part of a story.
Stories inspire. Slides don’t. Have you ever heard someone say , “Wow! You’ll never believe the PowerPoint presentation I just saw!” 7 Probably not. But you have heard people say that about stories. 7. Stories appeal to all types of learners. In any group, roughly 40 percent will be predominantly visual learners who learn best from videos, diagrams, or illustrations. Another 40 percent will be auditory, learning best through lectures and discussions. The remaining 20 percent are kinesthetic learners, who learn best by doing, experiencing, or feeling. 8 Storytelling has aspects that work for all three types.
Stories fit better where most of the learning happens in the workplace. According to communications expert Evelyn Clark, “Up to 70 percent of the new skills, information and competence in the workplace is acquired through informal learning” such as what happens in team settings, mentoring , and peer-to-peer communication. And the bedrock of informal learning is storytelling. 10 9. Stories put the listener in a mental learning mode.
Telling stories shows respect for the audience . Stories get your message across without arrogantly telling listeners what to think or do. Regarding what to think, storytelling author Annette Simmons observed, “Stories give people freedom to come to their own conclusions. People who reject predigested conclusions might just agree with your interpretations if you get out of their face long enough for them to see what you have seen.” 13 As for what to do, corporate storyteller David Armstrong suggests, “If there was ever a time when you could just order people to do something, it has long since passed.
Readability Light --+-- Serious
Insights High --+-- Low
Practical High ---+- Low
*Ian Mann of Gateways consults internationally on leadership and strategy and is the author of Strategy that Works.
My copy is highlighted, has notes in the margins, and will be referred to over and over. Some of the stories and examples used will be tailored to suit my needs - but they will be used (and re-used).
As an historian, who also sometimes teaches Psych 101, I have a lifelong interest in the power of stories. Curiously enough, although written long before the worrying issues currently facing our nation , this book has helped me better understand the perspective of today's potus. I can easily imagine using the structure and ideas put forth here in a biography of the man.
This is a very readable book full of great ideas for speakers, business people, and anyone who is trying to work with groups, make a sale, or get an idea across.
They're still talking about it. Wow!
Albeit the examples are heavily P&G related, if you look past that, which is the authors experience, you get to the centre of the key messages for each chapter; all valuable for any employee and leader.
Thoroughly recommend this book and will be one I read again and again.
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