‘Thou shalt not’ is soon forgotten, but ‘Once upon a time’ lasts forever.
So I was intrigued when I found a story called “Telling Tales: The art of corporate storytelling” in a 2007 edition of a magazine for Costco’s members.
The article offers-up advice for developing your corporate stories, which I’ve refined into these five items:
- Identify what stories you want; select key elements of your culture.
- Craft powerful stories; look for good stories and then write them down and perfect them.
- Use an employee’s name; specificity is good and it helps boost morale.
- Keep it short; if it’s too long, it’s hard to remember and repeat.
- Use and re-use the story; don’t be shy in retelling the story.
One word of caution: Make sure you’re being honest. The stories will only work if they reinforce actual pieces of your culture. So you need top be clear about how your company operates. As Jack Welch is known for saying: Deal with the world as it is, not how you’d like it to be.
The bottom line: Tell stories with a purpose