In January, we published “Ten Books to Develop Your Career in 2020” to kick off the year with a focus on personal and professional development. As a follow up, not as any official Oracle endorsement, we also recommend 10 Stories Great Leaders Tell by Paul Smith.
As HR leaders, being able to tell a story is important. Whether our audience is prospective applicants, current employees, or interested investors, communicating a compelling message is important to drive clarity and exude leadership. Specific stories that tell a story of talent management, recruiting, or benefits and compensation are doubly important, as they offer a view into how the company truly operates.
In this book, Smith explains the hallmarks of a compelling message and makes the point early on that it's more important what a story is than how it's told. He says that a story is meant to be a narrative and includes time, place, main character, goal, and an obstacle to achieving that goal. Without these critical elements, not only is a story incomplete, but listeners won’t be compelled to act.
Smith then provides ten types of stories, with examples of each:
But your stories shouldn’t end there. Smith closes by noting that stories told should answer the following questions, preferably in this order:
With these templates in mind, any organization can begin the process of defining or refining their identity. Smith’s book provides a short and very readable book with great examples for a leader looking to communicate to audiences both external and internal an impactful corporate story.