The Power of Story Telling

Accountability Communication Organizational culture


Key Point: We can really accelerate learning and great habits by promoting story creating AND telling. This may be old news to some of you but I’m going through an experience that is somewhat “mind blowing” on how effective story creating/telling can be; pardon the use of a euphemism from the ’60’s. 

Over the past few weeks I have been part of a team bringing employees together, to write and tell personal stories related to specific values we are hoping to spread through all parts of the organization. As an example, much to my passionate delight, we have been asking people to share stories about being “fiercely self-accountable.” When more than 20 people come together to share examples of “fierce self-accountability,” as it applies to serving customers, the words become richly alive with emotion and impact. One literately feels a definitional shift take place amongst the participants, and the meaning becomes much more understood though the voice and feelings of the characters in the story.

When people gather with the understanding that they are expected to share stories, there is a palpable apprehension. My observation is that most of the anxiety is related to the prospect of having to publicly share and present. We already know from research that any form of public speaking ranks at the top of the personal “fright list” for many. Recently, I watched a group of teammates standup arm in arm around a very anxious storyteller. When her colleagues embraced her, the room leaned forward with enormous listening presence. The story was quietly and beautifully shared. It was so piercingly powerful, there was a magical moment when the story creator was both honored and liberated. Most, if not all of the people in the room shifted, not only in their chairs but in their thinking/feeling. 

As you readers know, this blog searches out science and research to support views and recommendations. If you want the research, go to the related links and citations. The point is, the brain literally changes through effective story telling. 

Character Moves:

  1. Learn more about story telling as a powerful leadership, learning and development approach. 
  2.  If you’re a leader, one of your competencies is to turn ALL of your team into story creators and to help them both archive AND share those stories. 
  3.  As a contributor in your organization, begin to think of yourself as a real, powerful, STORY CREATOR! And everyday we are given an empty palate to create and paint/write/tell those stories through our interaction with others. That’s a “WOW” in itself!

Story Creating and Telling in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: As a journalist, my whole thing is “story telling.” It’s why I do what I do, why I chose my major and will continue a career in something connected to that forever. I believe a good story is one of the most important things in the world. It doesn’t always have to be a headline maker though… As a small example, my improperly charged wireless headphones ran out of juice 11 minutes into a 50 min cardio session at the gym today… Regular gym goers might understand what a game changer that can be. So what was my backup source of entertainment? I texted friends to find out about their day, hear some stories… It replaced the lack of music, and made the remaining time pretty good. Stories keep you moving.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis