My dad used to preach at church. I remember a story he told during one of his sermons about a construction site he would drive past on his way to work. He recalled the fanfare announcing the development, the massive hole that was dug, and then the months and months of nothing. Two years later the site was up for sale: the developer had run out of money shortly after digging the hole. You have to count the cost, my dad said, with the decisions you make. You have to know if you can afford the price. Otherwise you will be left with a big hole and nowhere to hide.
The story has stuck with me for 30 years, and I often recall it when I am making decisions. I’m sure most of us can remember stories we were told at different points in our life and the impact they had on us then and now. Story telling is central to our experience of being humans. It enables us learn, it helps us connect and build trust, and it affects us to action.
What I struggle to recall is story telling within the more formal places that I have worked. Of course this podcast is all about story telling. And within my side business we often share stories. But from my experience within larger organisations I cannot think of one example. What I do remember is actively being encouraged to turn my emotions off, to not show my personal side, to be who I am suppose to be for the client rather than the real me.
Gabrielle Dolan started working with organisations to help leaders share their stories with authenticity and purpose more than 13 years ago (i.e. before it was sexy). She is an author, speaker, teacher and coach who saw the impact of story telling in her job at NAB and decided that the ripple effect of people sharing their stories was something she wanted to be a big part of shaping.
In speaking with Gabrielle I was inspired to be deliberate in my story telling at work. I hope you also get inspired, and enjoy listening to our conversation.