Purpose Driven Storytelling

Books Purpose Respect


Key Point: Purpose and value driven storytelling are becoming central themes for leading organizations and a necessary practice for all leaders. Why? Storytelling is a prime vehicle for creating a cultural platform that inspires and guides individual and team behavior. Clear, meaningful and compelling purpose in partnership with stated values, fuels performance. 

John Coleman is a coauthor of the book, Passion & Purpose: Stories from the Best and Brightest Young Business Leaders. In a recent article, he describes inspirational purpose as an urgent call to action. As an example, he refers to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The organization’s purpose is “Finding Cures. Saving Children,” and notes that their website is filled with the stories of the kids they serve

Coleman also notes, “as part of completing purpose, organizations need to declare and live well defined and understood values… So you create a common narrative for the group or organization.” 

A well-advanced organization has all stakeholders telling stories that complete the desired narrative. For commercial institutions like ours, it is most rewarding when customers are fully engaged storytellers… And our website, along with social media become filled with stories that demonstrate how we’ve really made banking work for them! This makes our purpose and values true.

Character Moves: 

  1. What are the purpose and values of your group? How do they personally connect with you, your team, your customers, and other stakeholders? Properly answering these questions takes relentless, thoughtful work that translates into desired action over time. You can start a conversation, but do not think you can complete this at a four-hour team building session.
  1. How do you use stories to inspire, inform, celebrate and improve? This requires an intentional system before it happens unconsciously throughout the company. 
  1. Remember that giving specific, behavioral based recognition is a form of storytelling and perhaps the most effective.

Purpose driven story telling in the Triangle,


One Millennial View: Hearing stories from an experienced, “been there before” individual is one of the most valuable things a younger employee searches for. A great story stamps itself in the mind of an aspiring learner far better than some PowerPoint. For those of us looking for mentors, we’d gladly climb through thick and thin to earn this information. But, in our ADD-prone world, we just simply don’t have the patience or desire to hear anything that is a jumbled waste of time-consuming dialogue. A great story is priceless. However, a bad story disconnects us and makes us wish everyone shuts up and limits themselves to 140 character Tweets. It’s a blessing when we are privileged to learn from people who know the difference.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis