Everybody loves a good story and storytelling can be found in a range of forms, from books and movies to office jokes and music. It is ingrained into everyday life and each of us has our own preferred style of storytelling, but the importance of stories is how they can shape us and teach us.
This story puts into perspective our working habits and our approach to the things we do…
Lisa, a working mum, took two highlighters and used these to shade in her work diary for the coming week. She shaded some appointments green for boring, others yellow for energising. As expected the tasks such as meetings, listening to presentations, reading reports and attending statutory training were shaded green for dull and de-energising.
When she reviewed her week, Lisa noted that 80% of her time would be spent doing tedious and uninspiring activities. Lisa compared this to the energy and enthusiasm of her 6-year-old daughter whos days were full of laughter, ideas and discovery. Why shouldn’t Lisa’s work week be more like that?
Not content to live a life dominated by ‘green’ engagements, Lisa decided to try to turn her diary yellow by seeking out stories.
As a result, she restructured the agenda of her weekly meeting and approached it as if it was a film. She identified the perils, plot and ensured that the discussion concluded in a happy ending. She continued to change her week by challenging the finance director to replace spreadsheets with stories in his monthly presentation and, rather than read the pile of reports on her desk she visited each of the authors and asked:
· What challenges did they want to overcome?
· What could get in the way?
· Where could they end up?
Not only was she able to switch some of the events in her diary from green to yellow, but Lisa also felt more energised and engaged at work. Tough problems had been solved, exciting new initiatives launched and the team morale was higher than she’d ever known.
To be the best you can be in the workplace, you need to embrace creativity and start seeking the stories.