Lead with a Story your unique leadership advantage

Lead with a Story : your unique leadership advantageI recall an article some time ago that told the story of a saleperson selling his highly coveted product in a large kingdom.  Everyone seemed to love the product except the King who, in fact, hated it.  One day the king announced that he would ban the product unless someone could convince him of its value.  Of course the salesperson spoke up and said, “I can, sir.  I’ll prove its value if you give me a chance.”

Stories that Offer Unique Leadership Advantages

When the king agreed to an audience the following day, the salesperson went home and created about 80 PPT slides with all the product and distribution data he could find.  He even had quotation statements from current and former customers.

He returned to the palace the next morning and began his presentation to persuade the King of the product’s value.  After 40+ slides the King proclaimed, “Off with his head!  I wasn’t convinced until now but that presentation sealed your fate!”

As an instructional designer, leadership developer and coach to leaders who speak and train, I love to retell that simple story that leads to the “Death by PowerPoint” discussion.
Much has been written in the last few years about storytelling as a leadership tool.  Indeed, some of the best resources that I recommend on leadership and the skills of leading teams in the workplace today are written as fables themselves.

Remember Mary Jane Ramirez at First Guarantee Financial in Seattle struggling to motivate her employees?  On a walk, she observes people working in a nearby fish market having so much fun and showing such passion that people stop just to watch them work.  Fish! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results,  the book caught the business world by storm.  I still make it a point to get to Pike’s Market in Seattle to watch them toss fish every time I visit my son there.

How about Fred who must convince his fellow penguins, Louis, Alice and NoNo that something has changed about their home and they need to take quick action in John Kotter’s Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing a