Storytelling works wonders, and here’s why

by Brett Henebery28 Feb 2017
Andrew Fletcher, head of learning at Mercer, a global consulting leader, believes there is great value for L&D in storytelling.

Fletcher was recently on the panel at the Learning & Development Masterclass held in Sydney on 30 November. Below, he outlines three ways L&D professionals can use storytelling to drive improvements in their organisation.

Opportunity to demonstrate creativity

L&D professionals often have creative strengths that are invaluable for storytelling – Being able to distinguish between different audiences, craft relatable messages and motivate to take action requires engaging people’s minds both rationally and emotionally.

An ability to convey a distinct message in a word

Getting cut-through early in communications by getting to the point quickly is an art. For example describing an “Uber-like” experience conjures up an instantaneous image for each person in their own way. It may be that you immediately think about a transportation service as it relates to your industry, or a range of different things relating to disruption, jobs, people, automation, economics or getting home tonight. Whatever your audience immediately takes from this (even made up words), you have engaged their minds and begun to build communication with them.

The value of putting the shoe on the other foot

Imagine all of your Leadership Team literally within arm’s length of each other and being able to see everyone else’s immediate everyday natural thinking preference, and how it varies from your own. What would each of you realise in an instant without speaking? Would it be understanding relationship problems that have occurred? Explain why some recent projects didn’t go as expected as a critical area was overlooked? Would it be realising the teams thinking preferences are too similar and without making changes to the teams approach they will struggle to meet future challenges?

Fletcher continues: “Now consider at this same time there is an external factor which impacts your whole industry and is affecting your organisation [consider it Uber-like]. How does this change your teams thinking style in response under pressure?”

“At Mercer Learning, a particularly successful way we undertake this internally and for our clients, is Team Profiling. This helps develop a Whole Brain Thinking ® approach to better address Talent issues,” he said.

Fletcher added that based on neuroscience, Mercer are quickly able to understand and practically demonstrate with a team’s different thinking styles.

“This has helped our teams we work with become more self-aware, agile in decisions making and communication processes and more successful as a whole,” he said.

The next Learning & Development Masterclass will be held in Melbourne on 6 April. Find out more and register here.

Related stories:
Why L&D professionals should all be storytellers
Four stages of implementing strategic storytelling