Over on KnowledgeBlocks we recently published an exploration on storytelling called Great Leaders Tell Good Stories. The overall message is that good stories aren't the sole property of the marketing or communications department, and anyone can master some basic storytelling techniques that will help leaders earn trust, excite enthusiasm, convey authenticity. While valuable, storytelling can be controversial.
There are two kinds of stories in this book. Some are ready-to-tell stories that can be retold. as they are written, by anyone when the situation calls for it. Others are intended as a springboard to provide inspiration for creating your own similar stories. Many can serve both purposes. All the stories, however, teach critical lessons in leadership worthy of learning. That can be beneficial for your own leadership skills, or for teaching others how to be better leaders.The majority of the book is dedicated to providing readers with stories to present when faced with 21 leadership challenges (each challenge gets a chapter), such as "Set a Vision for the Future," "Define a Culture," "Build Courage," and Earn Respect on Day One." In addition to these challenge chapters, each section of the book also includes "How-To" chapters, including "The Element of Surprise" and "Recast Your Audience into the Story" that will help you improve your own storytelling skills. All of the chapters close with a summary as well as suggested exercises, as well as any needed footnotes. Smith also includes an Appendix that consists of a Story Structure Template, Story Elements Checklist, and a Story Matrix that gives readers a quick reference to the stories included in the book and how to use them.