Bernie Anderson
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Story and Leadership: Putting It All Together

It’s one thing to know and understand the five parts of story, it’s another thing to know how to use them.

The importance of story in our lives cannot be overestimated. It is in the fabric of our brain.

One of the key roles of a leader is enlistment. We often think about vision. There're garbage trucks full of vision casting tips and tricks. It is not enough to have a vision statement and strategic objectives if they don't translate into something relatable. People will miss the trees for the forest. Many people are overwhelmed when faced views from 30,000 feet.

The vision-caster's job is to make it plain. Make it easy to explain. Make it easy to describe.

Storytelling is the best way to simplify complexity without being reductionist.

Story animates the didactic. It puts emotion to words. And emotion is what moves people to action. That's core leadership.

This week's takeaways:

1. Watch some Netflix

But do so with the five elements of story in mind. Look for the inciting incident, progressive complications, crisis, climax, resolution. You'll find all these in nearly everything you watch. Read a novel. They're there. All five are in almost every TV show episode. When they're not - it's often a poorly written, confusing program. Learn to recognize the five elements of story.

2. Write your own stories

No. You don't have to become a novelist. But you should mine your life for stories. Anecdotes. How did you start your business or your marriage? How did you become interested in model trains or French cooking? What events from your childhood affected you the most?

3. Make your own stories into a Netflix story. But shorter.

Now put your personal story into the five elements framework. What was the inciting incident? What happened next that complicated things for you? How did those complications culminate in a crisis point? What was the consequence of the crisis? How were things different because this happened.

Think about stories well, and you tell better stories.

Tell better stories and people will listen.

And act.