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Trends, Products, and Best Practices to Help You Create a Work Made Human Experience

10 Great Stories Leaders Tell

Dave Stark
Product Marketing Manager, Oracle CX

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. 

In order to attract new recruits, leaders must tell the right stories. We cover the questions they should answer in this blog.

Smith then provides ten types of stories, with examples of each:

  1. Where we came from - a founding story
  2. Why we can't stay here - a case-for-change story
  3. Where we're going - a vision story
  4. How we're going to get there - a strategy story
  5. What we believe - a corporate values story
  6. Who we serve - a customer story
  7. What we do for our customers - a sales story
  8. How we're different from our competitors - a marketing story
  9. Why I lead the way I do - a leadership-philosophy story
  10. Why you should want to work here - a recruiting story

But your stories shouldn’t end there. Smith closes by noting that stories told should answer the following questions, preferably in this order:

  1. Why should your audience listen? (hook)
  2. Where and when did the story take place? (context)
  3. Who is the main character and what did that person want? (context)
  4. What was the problem or opportunity the main character ran into? (challenge)
  5. What did he or she do about it? (conflict or struggle)
  6. How did it turn out in the end? (resolution)
  7. What did you learn from it? (lesson)
  8. What did you think your audience should do now that they've heard it? (recommendation)

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.

Learn how to tell your story with Oracle HCM Cloud. Contact us for a conversation with one of our experts. 

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