Friday, August 10, 2012

Lead with a Story by Paul Smith

I recently received the book "Lead With a Story" by Paul Smith free from the publisher to review.

I was very intrigued by this title.  As a Leader who Leads other LEADERS it takes alot to motivate and encourage them.  So I opened this book with some high expectations.

Before I get into that here is what the publisher had to say:
 "Paul Smith is scary smart, an amazing storyteller." --Chip Heath, Author Made to Stick
Storytelling has come of age in the business world. Today, many of the most successful companies use storytelling as a leadership tool. At Nike, all senior executives are designated “corporate storytellers.” 3M banned bullet points years ago and replaced them with a process of writing “strategic narratives.” Procter & Gamble hired Hollywood directors to teach its executives storytelling techniques. Some forward-thinking business schools have even added storytelling courses to their management curriculum.

The reason for this is simple: Stories have the ability to engage an audience the way logic and bullet points alone never could. Whether you are trying to communicate a vision, sell an idea, or inspire commitment, storytelling is a powerful business tool that can mean the difference between mediocre results and phenomenal success.

Lead with a Story contains both ready-to-use stories and how-to guidance for readers looking to craft their own. Designed for a wide variety of business challenges, the book shows how narrative can help: Define culture and values • Engender creativity and innovation • Foster collaboration and build relationships • Provide coaching and feedback • Lead change • And more.

Whether in a speech or a memo, communicated to one person or a thousand, storytelling is an essential skill for success. Complete with examples from companies like Kellogg's, Merrill-Lynch, Procter & Gamble, National Car Rental, Wal-Mart, Pizza Hut, and more, this practical resource gives readers the guidance they need to deliver stories to stunning effect.

So what did I think... This book did a great job in the first few chapters of giving the principles, and structure that you follow in crafting a great story.
Then in the subsequent chapters there are examples after examples of the stories that can be used on select topics such as driving business, teamwork etc..

I loved the simplicity of CAR (Context, Action and Result) for crafting a story.  This work made it very simple and made me realize how I could use this.

In fact I have used this style of thinking in 2 subsequent meetings.  One was with a group of Store Managers who were under performing in our company.  The result was that they felt energized and not demoralized!
Then I had the opportunity to speak to a group of Peers and Leadership in our company, and again this CAR crafting enabled me to create a powerful devotional that challenged, encouraged and led the LEADERS to better resolve to follow after a key theme in our company.
To sum it all up: If you are a speaker, a teacher, a friend, a pastor, a worker, a leader in any sense of the word you will learn from this book!

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