Telling Your Core Story
THE STORY THAT HOLDS IT ALL TOGETHER
Too often, your founder tells one story, your director tells another – and your teammates cut and paste a third. It’s good to have a story, but tell too many stories and you’ll find your organization pulled in multiple directions, like a horse with two heads.
So how to create a story that everyone can tell? Well, first you have to make sure it’s actually a story, one that depicts your journey – from origin into vision, not just an explanation or a description of values. Second, recognize that your key stakeholders (your team, your partners, your leaders) likely already have the story, it’s just being told in bits and pieces. The job is to reveal what is already there, shaping it into one core story that holds all the rest, retellable by leaders, employees, and partners.
We use a four-step process to develop core stories:
1. We research your current narrative from many angles, and identify your key messages, goals audiences, and outputs. This way we arrive at your door with the makings of a story already bubbling up.
2. We listen to key stakeholders as they talk about the organization, exploring ideas, anecdotes, and stories, to understand where you come from, what you do, and where you’re going.
3. We iterate things early and often, crafting what we hear into a story, finding what works and what doesn’t. We begin with the origin story, which often holds the DNA of your organization, and work to your impacts and to your vision, retelling what we are finding. Through this highly collaborative and highly focused process,everyone feels heard, and nothing comes out of left field.
4. We tell it to you, and have you retell it back to us. This helps us make sure we’ve gotten to the essence of the story and that it resonates, and that it’s retellable.
5. We ensure that your core story team (usually marketing and executive leadership) see their place in bringing the story to life.