Stories are universal. No culture has survived without them. They are widely recognized as an essential part of human cognitive development. As toddlers, when we listened to someone telling a tale, we built emotional bonds with others while developing empathy, encountering common cultural touchstones of morality and ethical behavior, and learning how to use language to express our thoughts and feelings. As social animals that crave connection with others, we find that stories—whether told orally, written on paper, or conveyed on film—are our most immediate way to enter the imaginative minds of others.
Business and commerce continue to be fundamental ways we interact outside of our family. And while we may not fully realize it, stories are an inescapable part of how we communicate professionally.
As you've heard me say several times, a great organizational story comes from the top. It might be the founder's story, like NOLA Buenos Aires and OPEN Cycle. Or it might be a story honed and crafted by the person who leads the organization today, like Quark Expeditions. By story, I don't mean something made up in a conference room one afternoon, nor something that an advertising agency creates on your behalf. Instead, the best stories lay the foundation for what makes an organization connect effectively with its customers.
Apple tells stories about great design. When founder Steve Jobs was alive, he was the chief storyteller and everyone else followed his lead. ...