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Business Storytelling for Dummies


FREE Articles

As a part of our contribution to ongoing learning, these short articles are available free-of-charge for your use. By clicking on a title below, you can view and/or print the chosen article with the use of Adobe Acrobat Reader. The latest version can be downloaded for free here, if needed. Feel free to distribute the articles to those who you think would benefit from their content. They cover the following topic areas:

Business Storytelling  Corporate Storytelling SHIFT From Quality to Value  the SHIFT From Quality to Value
Customers & Consumers  Customers & Consumers Strategic Planning  Strategic Planning
Enterprise-wide Change  Enterprise-wide Change Teams  Teams
Personal Development  Personal Development Training & Speaking  Training & Speaking
Project Management  Project Management Workplace of the Future  Workplace of the Future

Business Storytelling

NewA Matter of Facts: Three Steps for Keeping Audiences Riveted When Talking About Data
One of the greatest challenges many of us face in our work is how to storify data. This article explains the benefits of turning data into a story and gives tips on how to do so. 14.5MB


The Best-Kept Secret in Business Today
In recent years, organizations have used a variety of cost cutting measures to address the downturn in business. This has resulted in far fewer workers being pushed to work harder and to produce more. It is no surprise that employee stress and frustration have greatly heightened. Imagine the impact this is having on their ability to learn, retain, and recall critical information. Check out this article to find out what you can do to handle this situation. 163KB


New Beyond Testimonials: How to Unearth Great Member Stories


 Discover What Stories can Bring to Safety
There are multiple applications for story use in safety, as evidenced from these examples from the Spokane Research Laboratory at the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, Lockheed Martin, and the Veterans Administration National Center. Learn in this article what makes stories effective in this environment. 337KB


Five Ways to Use Stories to Make a Point
Ever wonder how to best communicate an idea? Or reinforce a core company value? Or introduce a key business concept? Why is it that we often rely on email, reports, or PowerPoint slides to relay critical information to others? Our lives are full of stories. Yet, while they are integral to our conversations with family and friends, they often are not strategically used in the workplace. Check out this article to learn five reasons you need to add more stories to your daily work communications. 135KB


Getting Business Results Through Storytelling
Mary wants to sell more services but her proposals are not being selected. Diane has purchased a business and needs to get employees to embrace her leadership. Nancy is president of a company in need of significant change. In this article, you’ll discover how these three women use stories to address their situations. 136KB


Getting the Most From a Good Story
Trainers often overlook the possibility of using stories they have collected in advance to enhance the training experience, even though many do use stories spontaneously in their presentations. This article delves into the use of stories in training, what makes a story effective, story selection, and their presentation. The authors explore the many places where stories can be found and how they can shape the design of a training session or be used to enhance or elaborate on specific content. 195KB


How Do You Keep the Right People on the Bus? Try Stories 91KB


Let It Grow, Let It Grow, Let It Grow: Gaining Members Through Telling Stories
Imagine you are part of one of four field experiments. The experiments are not important. What matters is the envelope you are given afterward. In each envelope are five, one-dollar bills and a letter from a charity requesting an anonymous donation. The first letter highlights the organization and data surrounding its relief programs. The second letter is only a story about the plight of a young girl and the difference the organization’s services made in her life. The third letter combines the story with the data. Which letter triggered the most monies? 850KB


New Making the Intangible Tangible: Using Future Stories to Translate Strategy into Action 345KB


The Missing Tool in Training
How often have you taught someone a new skill, behavior or concept and sensed the person did not really learn it? It is an ongoing challenge given that people are distracted by myriad priorities. While case studies, experiential activities, simulations, and role-plays can mitigate this challenge, using well-constructed, compelling stories at predetermined moments during training can also significantly benefit the learning process. Learn how to do so in this article. 79KB


Story Time
“Stories in the credit union industry are a cultural tradition,” according to Mike Beall. They have been used effectively in a variety of functions for many years. Learn from six individuals and organizations in the credit union movement about how stories are being used in new employee orientation, training, sales and marketing, fund development, development education, and government affairs. 951KB


Strategic Storytelling 4.23MB


Telling Tales at the Office
Why tell stories in business? Who tells stories in business? What Makes an effective story? When are stories used in business? What is the best way to present a story? All these questions are discussed in this article that appeared in the February 2015 issue of Toastmaster. 192MB


Ten Narrative Forms: The Price We Pay to Get Results 173KB


There are Five Sides to Every Story 83KB


Timeless Tips for Telling Stories 71KB


What Makes a Story a Story 73KB


When Communication Matters: Say It With a Story™
Studies by the Gallup Organization (First, Break All the Rules, Simon & Schuster, 1999) and Towers Perrin (2003 Talent Report) show many employees are only moderately engaged in their work. Not surprisingly, this level of disengagement negatively impacts employee productivity, loyalty, and retention and overall company profitability and customer satisfaction. This issue especially challenges human resource departments. Learn how Jim Stead, chief development officer for Utah Community Credit Union; Karen Dietz, Ph.D., a folklorist with Polaris Associates LLC and executive director of the National Storytelling Network; and Marcy Fisher, former vice president of Organization Development and Human Resources for Shell Technology Ventures, Inc. have used stories to answer these questions. 380KB


When Do I Get to Tell Stories as a Sales Professional? 413KB


Whose Stories Really Matter In Prospecting? 388KB


Winning Customers Through Story: A New Take 153KB


Customers & Consumers

Customers or Consumers? Focus or Obsession?
Creating value is the primary objective of a business. While quality is a business necessity, it is not the primary objective of a business. There are several implications from this shift in thinking. First, there is a difference between a customer and a consumer. Consumers are end users while customers may only transform an intermediary output into something different. To create value, enterprises must ultimately be concerned with the end users’ requirements. Second, creating value implies being obsessed with the consumer. Both customer responsiveness and customer focus are not enough. Obsession means being out in front of the marketplace. Described here are four types of activities that organizations are engaging in to create an atmosphere of consumer obsession. 63KB


Customers: Responsiveness, Focus or Obsession?
Customer responsiveness. Customer focus. Customer obsession. Which one is the most important of the three? What if I told you that none of them is most important. From my perspective, all three of them are critical to running a business and to achieving customer satisfaction and delight. So what do they mean? And why are they important to your organization? 30KB


Improve Service With a Story
Even in organizations that pride themselves on customer relations, service problems still occur with external customers. Why is this? This article covers three potential challenges facing these organizations and how communications plays a role in each of them. It suggests storytelling as a tool for more effectively conveying customer service principles, behaviors, and attitudes. 380KB


Enterprise-wide Change

Facilitating Large-scale Change Through Leadership Coaching
The intricacy and speed of organizational life often force a company to make large-scale changes rapidly. This in turn requires leaders to quickly develop new leadership proficiencies and may require new attitudes and leadership styles. Few leaders have the time or patience to sit through leadership training courses, and training without orchestrated follow-up has not proven to be the most effective way to change behavior. How then can organizations implement the kinds of large-scale change they need to stay competitive in a rapidly changing market? For many companies who face this common challenge, a significant part of the answer is leadership coaching. 347KB


Key Considerations in Organizational Change
The ability to lead and manage change is a fundamental part of today’s business world. The challenge is to prepare for tomorrow while continuing to do what is required in the immediate moment to remain competitive. Dick Beckhard and Rueben Harris describe a change formula (attributed to David Gleicher) that is useful when addressing organizational change. In order for change to take place, the following equation must hold true: Change = (Dissatisfaction)(Vision)(First Steps) > Resistance. All three elements dissatisfaction, vision, and first steps must be in place and must be greater than the resistance that is present in order for change to occur. 32KB


Organizational Architecture: A Framework for Successful Transformation
Few organizations have truly developed a framework (i.e., organizational architecture) that ensures successful performance in an environment of accelerated change and heightened competition. This paper overviews the purpose of organizational architecture. Particular emphasis is given to a step-by-step approach an organization can take to discover or create its own organizational architecture. It also discusses how to use the “new” architecture and concludes by identifying the leadership qualities critical to its creation. 115KB


Planning for Organizational Transformation: A Method for New and Existing Total Quality Management Efforts
When most organizations embark on a total quality effort they tend to “leap before they look.” Sometimes a brief assessment and selection of a quality philosophy occurs prior to management training. Management then starts several problem solving teams to quickly reap the “benefits” of its initial investment. Not surprisingly, 12 to 18 months later the organization’s initiative stalls out. Spending time planning for organizational transformation is critical to integrating quality into an organization’s work. In addition, knowing what specifically needs to be planned is as important as scheduling time for planning. Whether you are part of an organization whose efforts have stalled or are just embarking on a performance improvement journey, the steps and the content of planning for transformation are similar. 80KB


Preparing for Growth 1.71KB


Using Real Time Strategic Change for Strategy Implementation
There is no question that some form of strategic planning is key to an organization’s future performance. However, there are several challenges to implementing this type of planning in an organization. Large group interventions are one set of methods for addressing these challenges. This paper outlines the key characteristics behind different types of large group interventions. In addition, it describes the framework for creating a Real Time Strategic Change intervention and the necessary elements for using this approach in your organization.


Personal Development

Aligning Ourselves to Achieve Our True Potential
Our work causes us to have a keen sense of what is meant by the term “alignment.” Often we are catalysts for encouraging enterprises to discover and align their mission, vision, and values to their strategies, processes, policies, leadership decisions and human resource plans. There is, however, another view of alignment; one that is more personal in nature. It is centered on our approach to life—our source of energy, our greatest lessons in life, our gifts, our needs and desires, our personal values, our life purpose and what may be stopping us. Here, too, we must work actively inside ourselves to discover, align and integrate. 134KB


Are You Credible? 1.07MB


Consulting: Hobby or Serious Business Endeavor? 824KB


How Did I Get Here? 6.29MB


If There’s a Loss of Cabin Pressure... 622KB


I Know What I Want. How Do I Get It? 960KB


Living Life With Passion 794KB


Right Place, Right Time? Not! 541KB


Taking Charge: Responding to Poor Customer Service 3.38MB


The True Power of Silence137KB


What Does It Take to Manage Up? 130KB


Which Matters More: Respect or Liking? 2.24MB


Project Management

Why You Need to Know Project Management
Most of the work in today’s organizations has become projectized. Reflect on your own work. How many projects do you lead and/or participate in on a regular basis? Now reflect again. What have you done recently to enhance your project management skills? For the past two years I have been actively involved in two university-based project management certificate programs. This experience has made me realize how critical it is for an organization to follow a formal, disciplined approach to project management. 134KB


The SHIFT from Quality to Valuepixel

Critical SHIFT: Book Summary 857KB


Critical SHIFT: Business Book Review 238KB


How the Q Lost Its Tail 280KB


Making the “SHIFT” Happen in Your Organization
Today, organizations must continually improve their overall performance and the concepts, tools, and methods of quality are but one approach for doing so. In the process, the “Q” has lost its tail—total quality management has become total organizational management. Learn what four individuals say is needed in order for this SHIFT to occur. 11KB


Quality Managers: Are You Ready for the Future?
Technology, strategy, and marketing efforts are beginning to inquire about what is needed to truly grow companies and, at the same time, simultaneously provide ongoing value to customers, employees, shareholders, and society at large. Are the efforts of Quality Managers focused on the same? 11KB


Quality Today: Recognizing the Critical SHIFT 7.7MB


Shifting Quality From “Add-On” Work to the Way You Do Business
How can organizations transition from quality as “add-on work” to quality as the way they do business? This paper will describe specific things companies can do and issues they must address in order to achieve this paradigm shift. 19KB


The New Reality: The Q Has Lost Its Tail
Many people believe the quality movement is dead. They claim it did not produce bottom-line results. But, is it really dead? Or, has it gone through a profound metamorphosis which is only now becoming apparent? 72KB


Where Will They Fit In?
Those who once thought the quality professional had a promising career now wonder if this path leads to professional obscurity or oblivion. In order to predict the quality professional’s future, it is necessary to answer two key questions: What is motivating these changes? Where will today’s quality professional fit in? 1.9MB


Strategic Planning

Can You Plan for the Future?
In the past, organizations did not question the need for long range planning. Today, I’m often asked if the future can be sketched with any degree of certainty, given the myriad changes in the marketplace. My answer is still “yes,” however how these efforts are carried out has changed. For example: organizations used to take months to put together a strategic plan. Now this work is often accomplished in a few weeks, with the involvement of more people than just senior leadership. Perfection is not as important as getting a plan in place and deploying it faster than competitors. Although cycle time has shortened and scope of involvement has increased, what hasn't changed is the overall strategic planning framework that needs to be employed. 36KB


From Vision to Action: Taking Policy Management to the Work Group Level
Even though strategic planning has been around for most of this century, few organizations really use it to plant and nurture the seeds of tomorrow’s success. They are continually drawn to the demands of the present and unfortunately, ignore the requirements of the future. This presentation covers strategic planning using an approach called policy management. This approach ensures that a customer-oriented vision is developed and that daily activities are linked to breakthrough strategies to ensure the organization realizes its vision. Its success in helping firms to gain a competitive advantage in their marketplace has been proven in a variety of industries. 108KB


Getting the Insights You Need to Thrive in a Downturn Economy 89KB


Helping Organizations to Innovate
I recently read Gary Hamel’s latest book, Leading the Revolution where he describes the role that radical innovation has in an organization. While no one may question standardization and continual improvement initiatives, which often are necessitated by the need to cut costs and improve quality, organizations also need to create new value for stakeholders through innovation of products, services, and processes/systems. This is not an either/or proposition. Innovation is as much a daily activity as other sorts of business improvement initiatives.


New Making the Intangible Tangible: Using Future Stories to Translate Strategy into Action 345KB


Preparing for Growth 1.71KB


Seven Strategic Planning Myths You Should Shatter 178KB


Using Total Quality Tools for Marketing Research: A Qualitative Approach for Collecting, Organizing, and Analyzing Verbal Response Data
This paper introduces several tools that are useful in the planning of marketing research, as well as in the collection, organization, and analysis of qualitative marketing research data. After outlining a gap in the marketing researcher’s capability to analyze verbal data, the 7 Management and Planning Tools are presented as the means for addressing this gap. The purpose(s) of each tool are identified relative to their application in marketing research. The paper concludes with a discussion on how these tools can be combined to provide more thorough planning and even richer insight into collected data. 287KB


Want to Grow Your Business?
Today, it is more important than ever to reflect on some basics: the mission, vision, market strategy, values, and guiding principles of your organization. These basics are the cornerstone of the development of a business plan which will take your organization into new areas of work and allow it to meet the needs of customers you would like to be yours in the future. They are also key to retaining good employees over time. Where do you start? 173KB



Changing the Way We Do Business: A Model for Consensus Decision-making 4.8MB


Coaching Process Improvement Teams
Put a group of people in a room with a problem to solve. Give them a basic method for problem solving and they will solve the problem. Right? Not always. 167KB


Ensuring Success: A Model for Self-managed Teams
Over the past few years, there has been a lot of talk about the benefits of self-managed teams (also known as self-directed teams, natural teams, or semiautonomous work groups). 378KB


Training & Speaking

SEDUCE: An Effective Approach to Experiential Learning
We all know the value of experiential learning. Participants typically walk away with increased knowledge and skill retention as well as an enjoyable classroom experience. Yet, frequently, workshop designers and instructors do not employ a methodology that utilizes experiential learning in such a manner that realizes these outcomes. The “SEDUCE” approach to discovery learning creates an environment where learners realize, for themselves, what they need to know and/or do differently. This article describes, in detail, the five steps of the “SEDUCE” approach. 626KB


Tips on Hiring the Best Speakers for Your Meeting
You may have attended a conference where there were keynote speakers or be responsible for hiring them to speak to your company or a professional association. In either case, we expect speakers to deliver an enlightening message with great passion. But sometimes this does not occur. If you hire professional speakers, there are several things you can do to heighten the possibility of a successful experience for both you and the participants. 8KB


Training as a Strategic Imperative
How committed is your organization to employee learning and development? How much does it desire an increase in profits? These two questions are not separate business issues. 198KB


Workplace of the Future

Are Free Agents Catching You by Surprise?
What’s going on in the world of work? Free agents. Highly skilled individuals who are committed to themselves and their skills, who freely roam from company to company, project to project, assignment to assignment, adding value along the way until they discover a better opportunity to contribute down the road. They believe in themselves and what they have to offer. They are convinced that work should be fun, personal, and meaningful. As an employer, it’s in your best interest to understand and embrace this shift in thinking. It is not going to go away. 29.9KB


Social Responsibility for the Future
Traditional ways of measuring organizational success have focused on productivity and profit. But with accelerated change, organizational success and wealth is being redefined to include intellectual capital (the sum total of individual and organizational knowledge available in the firm) and social accounting (the company’s contributions to global responsibility and the health of the planet). What is causing this increased interest in social responsibility and accountability? 33.4KB


The Role of Spirit in the Workplace
In January, 1999, I attended the Rose Bowl football game in Anaheim, CA. My favorite college team-the Wisconsin Badgers-were playing the UCLA Bruins. The score was close. Late in the fourth quarter, Badger fans cheered louder than ever before, upsetting the opponent team and causing its quarterback to become unsettled. He had several bad plays that resulted in turning the ball over to the Badgers. When it became apparent that the Badgers were going to win, I saw fans everywhere slapping each other on the back, hugging each other with great pride, and crying tears of joy. It was the most glorious sporting moment of my life. Back home I wondered about the role this sense of spirit could have in the workplace. 34.3KB


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Business Storytelling for Dummies