By Stuart Maister, Chief Storyteller, Strategic Narrative
This is the first of a series of 5 videos on how to use powerful narrative to provide transformational leadership to your team, your clients and the marketplace.
What do you stand for and how do you lead?
Will next year be the same as this year? Is that what you want? The answer is probably no -but in any event, the pace of change means there’s little chance of that happening. If you’re in the UK then there’s zero chance – we’re about to experience Brexit and that means we have even greater uncertainty and turbulence.
So this short series of videos seeks to help you lead in this context. And they’re based on the idea that you individually and your team collectively need to always have a north star – your boat is in choppy water, but you need to have a strong sense of direction so that you can work together to ride the waves and maybe even use them to speed up.
This first piece is about you – the leader. The critical idea I want to suggest is that your story is the basis of your reality. In other words, having a clear powerful narrative is the foundation for a better reality and a strong performance. This provides you and your team with a clear vision, and your clients with a set of big ideas which resonate with them.
4 ways to develop your leadership narrative
So here are four tips for developing your own leadership narrative as we prepare for a new year.
Firstly, be clear about who it is for. I believe strongly you always start with them not you – ie the people you need to lead, the people you need to engage – be that customers, investors, employees. This sets the context for your narrative and ensures you understand and articulate what success looks like with them. Be specific – not general.
Secondly, write down your why – and theirs. This is classic Simon Sinek stuff, being clear on the why. Now your why may be about your purpose as an individual – what makes you tick. Or it may be about the reasons you’re leading change or driving a new initiative. I also believe you need to think hard about the why of those people you need to engage – what do they care about?
Thirdly, be really clear on the how. How do you intend to lead this change? What is your style? What will be the experience of those who encounter you? What will they say when you’re not in the room?
Fourthly – and this is the critical part – go through a proper process of brainstorming these questions and writing down the answers. Then turn this into a short, sharp narrative that you can easily articulate.
The coming of a new year makes all of this very specific. Make it the year when your leadership narrative is brought to life. Use it to define the way you communicate, how you make decisions and the way you hold yourself to account.
I coach leaders in this stuff, and work with their teams so this works on a collective basis. If you want any support, let me know.
If this resonates with you, and you feel you might need support in this, then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org