As already posted on this blog, share a vision and meaning is a succes factor for a collaborative project for the commitment of employees. Share a vision, give direction, it often referred to a leader’s vision (it is true that I stand on these issues rather with the CEO or a C-suite Member), but also leadership skills that are essential in the management of project 2.0. What better way to give meaning, to make impression, if it is not through the storytelling.
When you are in a community of practice, for example, you give a feedback, you tell a story. Every time I saw conferences where a manager gave his vision and experience through a personal story, rather than slides with graphs, curves … it was this intervention that people retained. On one hand it was different from other interventions, on the other hand the examples impact the spirits. The last time people came out the conference room saying, « you know, the one that impressed me the most is the one who spoke about peppers » (a story values related to a personal journey in cooking…). And yes, it is summed up in a sentence that I love:
People are like rabbits, they are caught by the ears
So let’s see what happens in the context of collaboration, through some tips to prepare your story and give meaning to your approach and share your vision with your community.
First of all share a vision, it’s to announce a future. But by definition the future is unpredictable (at best we are in the context of foresight). Your story is a fantasy that should be in the realm of possibility. It is a link between the present and the desired future. This is a shortcut to a future already present or about to be realized.
Announce in a strongly pyramidal company that overnight everything is going to work in network on the verge of the self-management is not credible (even if it is your purpose, it is too far from from the everyday life of your teams, your daily shifts). Do not forget this change management about which I speak regularly, we find the same risks of rejection associated with the fear of losing what you already have. In terms of form, of course it must be a positive future for your listeners and in connection with their current state of mind. As explained above, it is useless to on-sell something improbable or talk about hiring when there is a redundancy plan.
Similarly, it is not a question of going into details, otherwise your employees do not have enough freedom to project. Thus, synthetically explain your vision of collaborative not all processes. You give a vision, you don’t unroll a roadmap. Collaboration is simple, thus made simple: even so avoid cliches to summarize your vision. If it can help you, take a concrete example to illustrate your story, it will probably be easier to share your vision. A feedback from a company with more or less the same characteristics which have implemented collaboration will show to your employees that your vision is not impossible to realize.
Once your story was told your future community, share with them, upgrade your story and your vision with their inputs. Start to their point of view to enrich your story. It is not about questionning your vision, but allow your employees to take ownership of this vision and story. Finally, in a story there is a dream part, do not be simplistic. Think big, innovate and out frames classical thought. Start with a small accomplishment does not prevent to think big, on the contrary.
But you can go further with the storytelling, fon instance :
- Inspire confidence (with a personal story, based on either strength or how weaknesses have been overcome)
- Unite around values (a story will make more concrete abstract values : which mean « Customer spirit « , » quality » without reference to events, behavior which illustrate them)
- Provide a vision of the future
- Set up a collaborative approach and share knowledge
- Leadership (the leader answers the question who am I, linked to the history of the company as it should be)
To concluded, here is an example of storytelling and Social CRM coming from Hyatt few years ago. How to improve customer relationship starting from the customers. Guests are invited by Hyatt under its operation The big welcome to draft a maximum text of 250 words, to answer the question: « how would you transform 365 free nights at Hyatt in an unforgettable experience? « (The most creative three texts make win the 365 nights for their authors).