A Changing Mindset: Everything Is A Story

December 18, 2013


I’ve spent nearly eight years of my life telling stories. It’s been a healthy mixture of news, investigative reporting, and full-on feature work involving numerous interviews and immersion into new cultures. It’s my belief that nothing exists in a vacuum — even something as esoteric as a redesigned space shuttle is far more than just a tweaked hunk of metal. There’s reasoning behind the change, along with a dose of science and astrophysics. There’s logic behind the change. And if you look closely enough, there’s a story about the change just waiting to be told.

As a journalist, you’re taught to seek out wrinkles — to identify character traits, to be observant when it comes to shifts in strategy, and to draw conclusions based on those observations. By nature of being an external eye, it’s somewhat easier to focus solely on the storyline that inevitably develops when a new product is born, a new company emerges, a new leader is appointed, and financial markets react to a given catalyst.

The reality is that journalism can bring a story to life by shaping a series of events into a captivating series of words, but let’s look at the root: it all begins with a compelling source. Organizations far and wide are striving each day to be compelling in all that they do. They’re attempting to produce compelling products, to hire compelling employees, and to achieve compelling revenue figures (or however else they measure success). In the midst of this, what they’re really doing is crafting compelling stories — stories that are largely left untold. The work of an engineer building a new class of mobile device may strike many as just another day in the office, but to his or her customer base, the entire journey is of intense interest.

This is just one example of how stories are unfolding within firms, and I see a huge opportunity to facilitate the creation and delivery of those tales to customers who care. It all starts with a massive mental shift: Organizations have to stop seeing each successive product or service as just another SKU in a spreadsheet, and instead view their roadmaps as continually developing stories just waiting to be told.