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The greatest leaders in the world- religious, corporate, political, familial, educational, etc. capture the hearts and minds of their audience through well-crafted and strategic stories.  This "narrative leadership" uses the art of storytelling to connect with an audience, drive behaviors, and transform.  

Through organizational storytelling, we can affect the trust and belief our employees and teams have in our organizations.  We can share the organization's greatest triumphs, rocky past, and dreams for the future.  These types of stories are effective in shaping our culture and ultimately affecting our organization’s destiny.

Most business leaders are accustomed to operating with an analytical mind-set; looking to analysis and cold hard facts to drive business thinking and decision-making. Storytelling is still relevant to these leaders as it doesn’t replace analytical thinking; instead, storytelling supplements it.  People don’t emotionally connect with graphs, charts, data and statistics. People emotionally connect with people.

Connecting both left brain and right brain skills make for the most effective leadership.  Stories, at their heart, are about people- and engage the right brain.  Abstract analysis engages the left brain.  Analysis is easier to understand and connect with when seen through the lens of a well crafted story about how the numbers affected people and their actions. Emotional connections drive actions and actions drives destiny. As leaders we must connect with our teams emotionally- through storytelling- if we are to affect behavior and motivate people not only to action but to action with enthusiasm.  

Walt Disney, one of the world's greatest narrative leaders, utilized abstract analysis to make organizational decisions. And he used stories to exchange ideas and provoke feelings based on these decisions- resulting in organizational excellence.  In his words:

"Our heritage and ideals, our code and standards - the things we live by and teach our children - are preserved or diminished by how freely we exchange ideas and feelings."

Are you ready to begin narrative leadership through storytelling?

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This post is based on insights from Hugh Kincaid. Hugh has spent over four decades learning and teaching leadership insights in the foremost storytelling organization in the world, the Walt Disney Company.

ABOUT DONNELLY EFFECT: With over 20 years of Disney leadership experience, Mike Donnelly, Chief Experience Officer (CEO) of Donnelly Effect shares his insights on Talent Selection and Hiring, Employee Onboarding, Customer Experience, Workplace Culture and Leadership- among others.  Donnelly Effect is home of the exclusive "World-Class Workshop" series and offers consulting services and keynote addresses to audiences of all sizes and industries. Since 2007, Mike Donnelly has been a contracted Disney Institute Facilitator, delivering Disney training to audiences across the United States.

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