We learn through experience because we use our experience to create a narrative that we can recall and use in the future. We then share our experience with others by telling our story. The story enables others to simulate the experience, and the simulation teaches them almost as well as if they had had the experience itself.
Our stories don’t just recite a sequence of actions. We create drama in our telling and we frame the experience for the listener. We tell our story with a point of view.
Was that visit to another country a frightening encounter with people we mistrust? Or was the visit an enriching experience of another culture and their ways of life? It was the same event, but we can choose to frame it in different ways.
The best leaders tell a story because it simulates an experience for their followers and it gives them a point of view.
In a recent interview, Andy Raskin explains why Leadership = Storytelling. He says that “Leadership is the art of inspiring others to make a story come true. Therefore, if you’re leading people, you’re telling them a story — by definition.”
Some leaders are better at storytelling than others and this gives them an unfair advantage. How do their stories differ from the stories we tell each other or that we see at the movies?
Raskin explains: “The biggest difference is that “happily ever after” hasn’t happened yet. The core leadership story, in other words, is a pitch: Come with me to the Promised Land.”
Raskin goes on to explain how you can develop these leadership stories. And further, he breaks down an Elon Musk keynote speech that illustrates successful storytelling by a leader.
These ideas about storytelling will strengthen your ability to take your followers to the promised land.