One of the key topics I write about is corporate culture. It’s such an important area that the first item on my list of The 6 New Management Imperatives is: “Invest in culture as a corporate asset.” It turns out that storytelling is one of the key levers for affecting corporate culture.
There are actually some physiological reasons why storytelling is important. I just read an interesting blog post that talks about the research of Marco Iacoboni, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA. One of the key insights is that
People relate to stories because it is part of their evolutionary makeup. Stories cause our mirror neurons to fire at similar experiences, helping us remember and relate
The more that people can recognize themselves in a story, the more it will draw them into the content. So great communicators need to create narratives that relate to the people who they want to influence. The blog post goes on to explain that storytelling was a key part of President Obama’s success. As an example, take a look at this segment from one of his speeches (think about how many people can relate to these words):
There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America. There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.
The bottom line: Great storytelling can help change corporate culture