Imagine that you’ve just witnessed a vivid example of something that’s right about your organization. It could be a case of great teamwork, a client success story or an exciting innovation. What do you do next?
Perhaps you retell the story to your colleagues. If you’ve got the time, you might remember to put the experience into words and email it to others. Or maybe you decide to invest resources to develop and share this story formally across the organization and beyond.
Once you discover a great story, what do you do with it?
StoryBanks are a great place to start. As the name suggests, StoryBanking is a systematic process to collect, organize, and share stories. Stories represent one of the best ways to motivate, lead and grow your organization. Yet many organizations overlook potential business opportunities because they lack a central internal StoryBank. Storybanking isn’t just the repository itself, it’s also the mindset of an organization that continually learns.
Every step in the total StoryBanking process has unique benefits:
- Story Mining: The mere act of regularly searching and listening for stories is positive in itself. Learning how to Story Mine elevates everyone’s “story radar” as they look for instances of their colleagues overcoming challenges. Trying to catch people in the act “doing the right thing” builds community.
- Story Banking: Stories need a place to live when they’re not being actively told. Otherwise, they may die of neglect. A central, searchable database where anyone in the organization can easily input and view is knowledge management at its finest. It could be as simple as text, or add audio and video upload options, too.
- Story Organizing: Analyzing patterns allows leadership to see trends, strengths, and opportunities that could otherwise be missed. There might be a recent deluge of positive stories from the international division, or across a certain product line or client segment. Why? Understanding these connections helps leaders to use stories purposefully rather than randomly.
- Story Sharing: Don’t place those stories under lock and key! Leverage the appropriate stories internally to convey culture and best practices. And share them externally to market the brand, increase sales, and win new client. Use in the widest variety of mediums: verbally, print, video, audio, web and so forth.
StoryBanking isn’t just for organizations. Individuals can benefit from a personal StoryBank, too. I’ve found that it’s especially useful for the executive coaching clients with whom I consult. A strategic toolkit of career stories can demonstrate the skills and behaviors that set one professional apart from all the rest.
So jot down some success stories of your own, then actively look for more in your organization next week. Now, what’s your plan for them?
* Bank vault photo courtesy of John D. McDonald