Creating a high performance organisation – part 8 Story-doing

Those of you of an observant disposition may have thought they had stumbled upon a grammatical mistake. Story-telling surely is the correct word to use?

But there is a subtle and all important difference in these two words.

Story-telling is the act of one way communication, “I have something to say and I am going to tell it to you”. This is used by many organisations in their marketing, PR and press releases but is something which I find to be one-dimensional and not at all engaging as the recipient.

It often allows cynicism to creep in as you sense that an organisation is talking the talk, but not walking the walk. Am I being told something that the organisation truly believes in or am I just being sold to?

Story-doing is something quite different and involves writing the story of your business;

  • Why is it here?
  • What is it trying to achieve?
  • How will that change the world?
  • Why should I care?

Once the story is written, next comes the doing!

The story becomes the business’s internal narrative and is used to drive actions in areas such as product development, recruitment, marketing and customer development. All these areas will look back and question “is what I’m doing consistent with the story” or “how do these actions move the story forward”.

Using story-doing in this way brings forward that all important ‘tone of voice’ that businesses spend years (and millions of pounds) trying to develop that allows those outside of a business to connect and be a part of it.

The masters of story-doing are Virgin where no matter which branch of its Group you engage with, or product you buy or initiative they undertake, you have the same sense of how they operate and the kind of values that permeate from its founder to the retail assistant serving you.

Each part, function and process is guided by the story and in being delivered correctly adds to the story until in time, the customers become the story-tellers.

And that is how Apple took over the world!

If you think that you have a story to tell and would like to know more, call Jon Lister for an informal chat to discuss this and any other ideas further.