Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Storytelling In Business

There's a car dealer called John Hughes.
While he's in the backwater city of Perth, he owns one of Australia's largest car dealerships, has sold 400,000 cars and is worth $200 million.
Each week, John (who is 75) publishes a double-page-spread in the press of testimonials from satisfied customers. Not a car in sight. Simply praise from customers for the service provided by his staff.
While this is smart advertising it also has another, equally important function: it demonstrates to his staff that they are appreciated, by both customers and John.
Here's John's story.

Mr Hughes shows me letters from customers, thousands filed away in a row of cupboards behind his desk. He reads every one and uses the feedback to train his staff how to sell and how not to.
Testimonials are stories about your organisation. They are more powerful than surveys, since they are unsolicited and based upon real experiences.
There is a growing body of research that says yes "storytelling as a way to motivate employees" works, as Adam Grant has discovered in  How customers can rally your troops
There’s a wealth of evidence that people want to do meaningful work: In national surveys over the past three decades, the vast majority of Americans have identified meaningful work as the single most important feature that they seek in a job. And numerous researchers have found that people are concerned not only about themselves but also about doing work that benefits others and contributes to society.
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