Tell me a story.
Two great Must Read blog entries today– one from Dan and Chip Heath, authors of the Must Read book Made to Stick and the other from John Baldoni, who writes the Leadership at Work blog on the Harvard Business Publishing site.
Their themes are similar — using stories to explain difficult concepts. Google on stories and leadership and you get 46.2 million hits, so it’s not a new concept.
But the Heaths clearly get it with their SUCCESs tool for making ideas sticky, so it’s worth reading this month’s Fast Company column on The Gripping Statistic: How to Make Your Data Matter. Whether it’s the $800B stimulus package or the size of McDonald’s ad budget, they offer great advice for downsizing big numbers to everyday numbers.
Baldoni’s blog, Why Leaders Need Stories: A Lesson from Don Hewitt, talks about how the 60 Minutes creator (who died this month at age 86) saw stories as the “secret” of his success. What I liked best about Baldoni’s blog, however, is his reminder that “not every issue need be reduced to a story. There are times when a leader need to be direct and to the point, to lay out the issue and the challenges in clear and precise language.”
Bulldog Simplicity Rule #2: Know when (and how) to tell a story and when to cut to the chase.