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Walt Disney- perhaps the greatest storyteller of all time- has entertained millions of people of all ages throughout the world, and mobilized hundreds of thousands of cast members within the Disney empire to action and amazing perfomance.  

He led his organization through the use of storytelling.  He understood the magic and power of story to connect people to the moral of each tale he told.  

Through compelling storytelling, leaders like President Abraham Lincoln and the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr captured the imagination of people and moved them to change their behavior in unaccustomed and innovative ways; disrupting the status quo and transforming lives, organizations, and the world for good.

What can we learn from these leaders about narrative leadership and organizational storytelling?

Leadership is about persuasion, and motivating people to action in the future. Transformational leadership is about disruption of the status quo; inspiring people to act different ways. Narrative leadership combines both, using storytelling as a leadership skill.  Its use can have a profound motivating effect on people and organizations- dramatically disrupting and transforming both.

Another great leader, Mahatma Ghandi, said:

"Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words,

Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits,

Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny”

To change our destiny, we have to change our beliefs.  What we believe individually and collectively about our organization(s) has a direct impact on the organization's destiny.  These beliefs have a direct impact on our organization’s service cultural success or failure. 

Through organizational storytelling, narrative leaders affect the trust and belief our employees and teams have in our organizations.  They shape our culture and ultimately affect our organization’s destiny. Stories create a picture in our minds- a running narrative that powerfully affects our decisions about how we ultimately act. 

Are you ready to drive behavior, actions, and culture through organizational 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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