Anecdotally Speaking

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084 – Corporate Storytelling—Values communication with Indranil Chakraborty

by Shawn Callahan & Mark Schenk
November 16th 2020

How can you inspire your team to hold your company values? Listen to hear Indranil Chakraborty, a storytelling expert and Anecdote Partner, unpack values communication.

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no welcome to anecdotally speaking a podcast to help you build your business story repertoire. Hi, everyone. I'm Shawn Callahan and everybody. I'm Mark Shank, and I'm very excited because on our podcast today, we've got one of our great friends and long term partners India Neil Chakra body. Everyone calls him. I see. And I remember when I first met I see back in 2012 in just outside, in gone just outside of Delhi. Um, yes, he made my life very simple when he said Just call, May I see? Yeah, welcome. I say, Yeah, thanks for having me. So by way of introduction, So I see is based in Mumbai. He's one of Asia's leading business storytelling experts. He's the author of Stories that work best selling book, which is strongly

recommend that you read. And I guess from from our perspective, he's kind of one of the most experienced deliverers of our programs. He still living over 100 of the storytelling for leaders program. And remember, we had a little celebration in Sydney last year. And how is that one, by the way? It was fantastic. Fantastic. Very nice. I always you know anything that comes in a wooden box Gonna be okay way sorry. Except except the last wooden box. You get placed. Oh, yeah, The last one. You don't Not so great. Yeah, that is definitely definitely not so great. And I see is also one of our master practitioners master partners. So he's one of the very few people around the world who trains other people to deliver the storytelling for leaders program. And so welcome to the show. Thanks for attention. Yeah, it's great. It's gonna I'm looking forward to this. I see because we're going

to get Thio, have a good conversation about values Onda relationship between story and values. And and, you know, this is all part of the Siri's that we're doing at the moment around our corporate storytelling paper on one of the sections, you know, we have 14 different topics, and one of them is Hattie's story. Thio in bed and amplify and and, you know, really bring to life. I suppose the values in an organization But before we get started on that, I'm just it be great. You just get a bit of a sense of how you're seen that storytelling world from from India's perspective at the moment. What what's happening there and especially 2020 being the crazy year that it's been, how that's all played out for you. So I think a couple of things have happened. One is, of course, a big myth has got shattered in my head on dial. Talk a bit about that. The other is, I think, while impactful

, communication has always been very important in this new world where everyone is behind the street most of the time trying to connect and engage through a medium which is very alien. If you look at it in the way we worked all this time, the ability to connect and hence storytelling as just shut up. You know, that requirement has just shot up. So I think it's become even more relevant than it was pre coverted. Yeah, and, uh, on the myth that Scott shattered is well, I had run one global program 100% virtual. If you had asked me in February, I would have said No, no, no, it's always better to get people in the room will get their attention. We'll go through two days off, you know, telling them, and then we'll coach them after that. Um, today I think even post, we are able to get back toe a room. I

would want to bring in a lot of what has happened with the online delivery, which allows us to do many things. One is junking of information over a period of time rather than going to give it all together. We're not teaching rocket science, but it's still new. New information. Yeah, and it's sort of all coming for eight hours, you know, junk it up. And then the other thing that we do now, which is do individual training between those information delivery, if you like, has completely changed the level of fluency that the leaders have when they're exiting the first phase of the program on DSO. That's that's a big myth, very nicely shattered in my hand. Yeah, I know. I think we've all gone through that same revelation, haven't we're in the sense of having a bit of a downer on online and then realizing that actually actually works pretty well. Eso that za good. That's a good lesson for us to learn. Um, now I know marks marks being certainly

, you know, totally, you know, embedded in that. That that world we all have in different ways. But I know Mark, have you? Well, what would you say? Is your the sort of main change that you've seen, You know, for people to be able Thio use this online approach. Is there any particular lesson or or observation you've take away from it? I think One of the red echoing what ice. He said, We've got so much. There's so many options. When you are delivering online, it gives you a whole range of new options ways to engage in the workshop, opportunities for that personal coaching, the bridging activities, which just just those moments where people get that coaching and they go on, they send back that No, they go. It's almost like, you know, my organization better than I do, and they and and they see it right. And they go from kind of struggling to that breakthrough moment. That's the thing I love is. You get everybody to that point. Yeah, Yeah, it is good, isn't it

? Hey, I see you. How did you know? We know the answer to this, but our listeners would love to know this right, And that is. How does how does someone get into storytelling from, you know, your background in marketing, you know, working for a large corporation. How does one name started a storytelling in business in India? Yeah, I'm gonna make that more complex by saying, How does someone who studied computer science engineering Andi then sold soaps get into storytelling? Because after all, you know, the way you become an engineer in this country is you are identified left brain through school and in science and then engineering and stuff like that. Andi, it's interesting because it really is on the topic that we're going to be talking about today. So in what became my final corporate role, I was in this time share company where we were rejigging everything, you know, rejecting the entire organization

structure. In fact, we changed the head office from a different city, so it was almost, you know, starting a new. And so we had created this credit off how we would live on. Why would we come to work every day? I have always been a a big skeptic on vision and mission kind of things because most of them sound like scoreboards to me. you know, we must become X by. Y yeah. On dso we are. The credit we had put together was that we want to make every moment magical. Yeah. So making everyone moment magical was why we came to work now or on paper at the start. It looked like a fantastic thing because it takes the usual boxes. It was inspirational. It was measurable. It worked for the CEO. It worked for the janitor. Uh, the next thing was, how do you get people to deliver magical moments? You need to put guidelines. And as soon as I said that the child percent rightly said, But that's values. Yeah, on I said, Oh my God, that's that's you mean

the poster in the conference room wall. Yeah, Tell me, e u a little bit cynical about that way. I c e I was because, you know, even in in one of the biggest multinationals on the older multinationals that have worked in where the words hadn't changed over 40 years, I know that after working in that company for more than 14 years, if you really ask me what each of that meant, would I be ableto verbalize it very similar to the next guy. I doubted it. Yeah. And, you know, I've seen many organizations, including the group. I was part off, give out a little pocket cards. Yeah. Now, if you have to have a pocket card to figure out what your values are, then clearly it's a stretch. Anyway, coming back. So the values we had, like many other companies, you know, integrity, respect. So, etcetera, customer service, but the point in my mind. But those were

actually no longer winning values. They're almost a table state. Yeah. You can't differentiate the company, because you are you paying more respect to individual or you're more honest. Yeah, On dso we took all those and put it into a new page we call the code of Conduct. Yeah, on in the blank paper, we put down guidelines for behavior. If you like your values like, um, no room for ordinary. So why? Because ordinary isn't magical or experiences everything. Why? Because most of the people in the organization we had 5000. 1000 of them were in sales. Yeah, on they were selling something called a five star holiday, which I don't know if anyone who was buying, knew the difference between a four star holiday in a five star holiday on, uh, clearly. But it's always it's always better right accepted. Beyond that, I don't know what the difference between five and four is what makes it by. But But I understand experiences

and the other 4000 people were those running the results, the timeshare results. And every time I talked about experiences, they said, Yeah, we know how to do that. Just give us more inches more in terms of TV, more inches off matches eso we need you know, I need to get them back to experience. So we had those and, you know, at the head office they made you normal things. Yeah, they look like I'm see stuff that he had put together. But the thought in my head was, however, do you get people across the country with so many languages to really get a sense off? Let's say no room for ordinary and I had no idea. Um, people told me about workshops to run. That's what I did. I also did the You usually are printed T shirts, coffee mugs and being favors and mouse pads and like you would imagine. None of that worked. And I had got into my space in my head, even though I had I was told by my boss I had nothing to do with it. I was the marketing and strategy guys

. Yeah, it was a child problem. Right. And But I was like, however, Do you figure out how to, you know, take the thing which is abstract, and I don't know what I searched on Google. Sean, uh, I landed up on a block. Your duty? Yeah. And you had written in the law that the best way to convert something abstract into something concrete was through a story. And I said, Yeah, that makes sense. But I'm in business. I mean, how can I do storytelling? Yeah, but I did. You know, I went and tried out the website. I still wasn't really very clear how this works, by the way, went, I'm sure. Back then we went very clear, either. I c e think that, you know, the website then was almost designed for someone you had probably had a conversation with already. Yeah, and and this was really additional material, but anyway, I signed up for an anecdotally, which still remains one

of the newsletters I still look forward to every week. And I got a update from the idea of Mark Shank saying that there would be a workshop for storytelling for leaders in Google near Delhi. And I wrote back immediately said, I like to attend, but are you going to cover this problem? Yeah, My problem is that I'm trying to figure out how do we convert our abstract values into something concrete? And Mark wrote back saying, Well, we don't really cover that fully in this course, but we're happy to run an additional program, you know, on on narrative techniques. Uh, if you'd like. And so I said, you know, that would be great, Andi, As as luck would have it, um, it wasn't, I would say very Remini aerated for you guys, but it was fantastic for me that I landed up in a workshop. Runs. I think you guys together would have run

very few workshops. Tokyo and the one the two days in Delhi are near. Bergen was one of the rare ones. And I don't think you'd have run a workshop for two people. Yeah, so That's what finally landed up right to people in the room and to to a few. And I was never, you know, I was attentive in all my classes in school and college and the university. But I wasn't the last 100 questions die. But in that workshop, I waas yeah, because I had gone in with the problem and I remember what you essentially told me. And I'm going to paraphrase it here is that don't try to explain abstract on abstract English word with multiple, more English words. Yeah, which is what most companies would do. You know, you write down the value and you write down a lot of words that try to explain the value. And so you taught me about saying, you know, go ahead across your company and collect examples the next

stories off. What people think is that value in action. When you come back, you will see that 60% or more off those stories are intellect. People don't understand that value, but you'll find 2030% which is absolutely what you're looking for. And then you do two things. One is train your leaders to be storytellers and to exchange all the process within the company where you talk about or try to bring in the values understanding, which is the induction program. Any pre placement talk with universities, town halls and replace them with storytelling. So it sounds like you could it sounds like you could deliver this program. Now I see theme the narrative insides program. But tell me, you know, you obviously got into that space. I know, Mark. Actually, Mark and I were chatting the other day about, um, you know, one of the if you like, I guess very minus superpowers we think we might have is our ability

to easily spot stories, right to sort of say, That's a story that's not a story. And and we were trying to work out, like how? How do we develop this? Because, you know, for some people, it's a bit hard. Thio get they don't see the difference. But we because we started off clicking stories, didn't we, Mark? I mean, we must we must have collected, I don't know, thousands off stories over Korean. Thousands. Yeah, and and so we've been immersed in stories, you know, and and so you sort of just you get the grammar by immersion, as opposed to, you know, trying to work out the rules, um, and built that ability. But do you remember Mark the first sort of story collection activity you ever did? Uh, was it that GMO project? That was the first one. That was the first one we did, uh, jointly right

on. That was, you know, there was There was classic. Doesn't, uh that was because they did a survey, and there was They got lots of data, which was interesting, but not very insightful. You know, 67 of people percent of people did this, and 42% of people agree with that. And, um, but then I'm sure you remember the day when we conducted our first set of anecdotes circles and we finished the day, I think with each conducted maybe three sessions during the course of the day and we were sitting outside, it was a lovely afternoon. We're at on secure the road. They're having a having a beer, discussing what happened, and the guys had also been doing structured interviews and the interview guys come over and said, Ah, so, yeah, we compared notes and s o they were describing how they found the organization. Because we're occupational health and safety. And now we're going. Oh, yeah, Look, it's pretty much like the survey said. Everyone's pretty happy with things where orders and instructions well

kept up to date people. Yeah, blah, blah, blah. And remember you and I just looking at each other going Were we in the same organization, is you? Because we'd been collecting people's experiences and just tiny little things were so insightful, Like remember, one of them was the We've got a rule that says we're only allowed Thio make one trip to the remote site each day. And so, like every day, this morning is no example. I drive the truck to the site. It's overloaded by weight and volume because we're only allowed to make one trip, and so we make this really unsafe decision every day. And there were just so many everyday experiences. Yeah, Yeah, that's right. And you know what? The power of that off stories One more. I'm just gonna die. Aggression, that is. I know the other two having read this seven years ago. Yeah, I know one where you found someone who was using a glass because someone had injured the I. But we're not using

the footwear protector because no one had injured the foot. Yeah. Are the water purification system which was not working on E remember that? Yeah. Yeah, exactly. But let's turn it back into value values, right? So if that's the technique, collect the stories, you know, make sense of them, um, giving around real life examples to bring things to life. What? What have you seen? What would you say is that I see is the sort of general approach if you want to. If you were toe, if you're asked by customer. Okay, I want to use a narrative technique to actually amplifying in bed. You know what would be your short sort of answer to that? So two parts one is how do we go about it? Which is? We start by going across the organization, and this means across geography, these functions and levels, and try and collect examples

of what people think is that value in action. Yeah, And you know the amount of time that people are surprised with what they hear back on onwards, so I'll give you two examples of a company that I worked with a giant global pharmaceutical company. And, uh, they had four sort of values, two of which they thought were more difficult to explain. And to were more easy. I'll take one of you. So they thought transparency might be difficult, whereas respect would be easy. Yeah. And so I said, If you think that respect is easy, can I can I Can you humor me and ask one of your employees to come in? And so I got actually, two people from two levels come in, and I didn't want to embarrass him for saying, What are your values? So I said, You know that your values are a B, C D. And one off. That is respect. Have you ever seen respect in this organization? And so this guy says he's the more junior dances. Yes, it

happened to me last year. I said, Give me, Give me the example And he says, You see, I finished my target and we'd we'd 50. Yeah, versus Week 52 my boss's boss called me and congratulated me. He treated me so much respect. Now the bus is a good thing, but that's recognition. Yeah, I turned up across toe the lady who was a little senior, and I asked her the same question. Have you ever seen respect in this company? And I'm not never forget because it got very emotional. She had, you know, teary eyed. And she said, So the reason I will never quit this company is because of respect. So I said what happened? And she says, You know, two years ago I suddenly lost my father. He was just in his fifties. I'm the only daughter. My mother was distraught, and I asked my my supervisor to allow me to work from home for two days. Hey said yes, but my colleagues would hear nothing off it. They said, You're not coming back to work for seven

days They took away my laptop. They called each of my doctors and said, You know any problem? Call us. Don't bother her. Yeah, they treated me with so much respect during that time that I can never forget it, and I'll never leave this company now. Those colleagues did a great thing, but that's that's empathy that's getting that's not respected. So but hang in there, I say Hang in there I have to jump in there. See, You're telling them what it's supposed to mean. I mean, um, it's sort of like you're getting the story going. No, no, that's not respect. This is something I didn't say anything. Come on. This sounds like you're trying to interpret their stories for them. No, I didn't. I just heard this story. I'm telling you that I didn't say I didn't say anything. I just heard the stories and I looked at the CEO who was there, So I said, What does that sound like to you? Is that what you wanted when you said respect? Is that what you're trying to drive and said No, no, I didn't interpret it. I left Tokyo on

De. So I said the best way like you asking is to go across the company and collect examples. And sure enough, you get both kinds of examples, which is ones that are not right. And once that are and let me give you two because one of them was hilarious. So this is back in. I I went to Calcutta and I'm meeting this group of people and doing what we call anecdote circles. Which group discussions designed to elicit stories and which is one of the things we teach in our in our workshop of how do you story? Listen, how do you get people to tell your stories? And so I use those techniques and one of these guys says, Yes, sir. I'll tell you about transparency. I've been in this organization for 20 years. For the first time, I have met a brand manager who is completely transparent. What does he do? Because for 20 years, every almost quarter, a new brand manager from our head office has come and done product detailing. Yeah. What are the new molecules out of the

new? You know, medicines. I've never understood any of it. For the first time, this primary just so transferring that I understand everything. Mhm. And, you know, I didn't say anything. We don't pass judgment. And I said thank you for the story and moved on. But clearly, that is not one that company had in mind when it put transparency is one of those values. That clarity of a uh yeah, What's the other? What's the other example? Yeah, yeah. So then I get a story from this guy who uh tells me that he's just been promoted from a small little town to Bombay, and he says, Sir, in that small town, I rarely met my targets. But 11 quarter when the data came in, I saw I had met my target, and I was pretty surprised. So I opened the data and I saw that I had sold an enormous amount off Medicine X on. That's not possible. So I said, Why is not possible

? He says So Medicine X is given for post operative care off the year canal. So if someone has had a year operation, then for post operative Care Medicine X is given in my town, we don't even have a e n t ear, nose, throat specialist. Forget a surgeon. How am I selling so much off medicine? Eggs? Andi. So I looked at the data, and I found that most of the sales had happened from one locality. I went and met the you know, the medicine outweighs the pharmacy is there, and they told me that all the prescriptions that they had serviced on Medicine X had come from one doctor and the funny thing so that doctor is not even in my columnist. So I go, Do I find the doctors chamber? I couldn't give my card. And when he calls me and I thank him for supporting our company and I asked him, Doctor, under what circumstances? Under what sort of symptoms do you prescribe? Medicine X. So he says, You know, when someone has

a year later in this part of the year, I give them antibiotic A. If it doesn't work, I give them medicine. X. This is but which colleague off mind told you that? That's the right sequence. Um, I didn't see your name in any off our seminars. How did you come to this conclusion? He said, No, that's not how it happened. So I said, How did it happen? He said, You see, I had a patient who had a very bad year. Rick. I gave him antibiotic A. It didn't work. He was in pain. I repeated antibiotic. It didn't work. So I said, You better go to bomb by and Dr Meet Dr Ishmael Shape. So I said, You mean the surgeon? So I don't know if it's a surgeon. He's a good doctor. Look. And then what happened then? a month later, I saw this patient at the bus stop. So I walked up to him and said, How are you? And he says I'm fine. So what medicine did Dr she'd give you? He said, I have no clue. But I'll give you the prescription and the prescription said Senator or sorry, Medicine X. And so I said, uh

, doctor, I'm so sorry, but you should have asked a little more questions. I have no clue what that patient was suffering from, but I can guarantee here the year operation and this the medicine was only given toe for post operative care. It is not for what you're talking about. In fact, it has these these side effects. My request to your doctor is Please don't prescribe this medicine anymore. And I'm sorry, but our company doesn't have a medicine for this sort of symptom. And then he pauses and tells me answer. After that, I've never met my targets again. Yeah. Uh, what a Yeah, but what a powerful story off transparency. Right? Um and so that's what we would I would tell a client that you collect stories that you take out the stories that don't not about what you mean, but select the stories

that actually mean. What? You what you want to say? Yeah, I find it. I find it interesting when I'm in an organization. And you know what? I'll and I'll ask people. Oh, you know, give me an example of, like, transparency and they're just blank. They're just looking at you like I've got nothing. I can't think of a single one. That's what I know for sure that the value does not stuck in their organization, that there's no experience off it. Uh, I mean, Marquis must have hit similar things. Oh, wait. The one of my, uh oh, running a leadership program. The leaders had this really passionate discussion about the importance of the values, and I then said, Okay, grab a piece of paper and write down what they are. And there was five values and a lot of them got zero out of five zero. We're making it up or with like what they did. They come up with words. Yeah

, yeah, they kind of just going blank. They all came up with five, but most of them Yeah, it's like many off them got zero. No, one got five and anyway, but they had a very passionate discussion. So there's a big difference between having them and actually bring them type. I just like it. One of my favorite value stories was when I was doing a project with with one of the universities, and the head librarian said, Ah yes, my husband's our investment banker and yeah, in one of the big investment banks in Sydney and the the managing director called a meeting and eso nine oclock on a Monday morning, Ah, to our meeting to discuss our values and the apparently, you know, the managing drinking, very type A personally get in there. So it's all right. We're gonna talk about our values because it's really important that we talk about our values. So let's go. And

apparently, after about 15 minutes, he's kind of tapping the table. His fingers were drumming the table and half on hour. He's jigging up and down and getting all after 40 minutes. He slammed his hand on the table and said, Stuff this. Let's go and make some money. That's the true value. You say He's just he's just giving it away. Absolutely. Values and action Yeah, that's a good one. E se. You know, we talked about and he sort of raised the topic of anecdotes circles. I see. And, you know, it's our favorite way of collecting stories. I was just one between the three of us. Be nice just to hear. Maybe one. Like, if you were to give one tip on how toe elicit stories from people, you know, what would you get? What would you suggest on gonna throw it? Actually, the I C first. What was your what? Your top tip for anecdote circles, man. Okay, I'll give you two. You know, you can have the rules, the rules here. I see because Mark has have one and

you might take it up, in which case I'll go to the anecdote dot com website and download the book which teaches you everything off. Okay, you can have a second one. What's what would you actually do? Like, what's your favorite? Go to method. It's give me an example. So listen to that guy's opinion, because people will come up with saying, you know, this is what that value is, and you go on and on. It's very important, etcetera, Given example when you saw that happens. Yeah. It is a very simple idea, isn't it? And you do get some powerful stories that way. Fantastic. What about you, Mark? What? What's your, Uh I want it. I want to. You're not getting too. I just told you what the rules were. So very, very simple. Be genuinely interested. Yeah, right. That's so Yeah, that's true, isn't it? You know, how do you How do you do that? How do you do? You fake interested nous

or no, you just like for me, like, organizations are really interesting places and just being interested in what they have to say, like generally accepting that these people have an absolutely valid perspective that's important for the organization, understand? And actually caring about it. Yeah. It's so interesting. Like, I find that you know, when people first started out, they tend to give you these high level stories. And if you show interest, it's almost like they go. Oh, see, You want to know the full story because you're you're asking the questions. And and so they dropped down into the your game the full off, You know, the full skinny on what's happening here because you're clearly interested. So because you're going like, Oh, so what happened? Yeah, Yeah. I'm like, Oh, Oh, you actually are interested? Sure. I'll tell you more. One of my what about

your favorites? Well, my fact, one of my favorite things is when people get stuck, you know, it's every now and then you get your anecdotes circle, and for some reason, they get stuck. Often. It's with very technical people, engineers, etcetera. And I find that if I have ah, I always make sure I have a bit of a white board handy or even just a an a four sheet of paper. And and I draw a timeline on I say to people, You know, look, don't worry about you know, the examples, But just tell me, you know, along this timeline, what were the big things that happened? You know, in your part of the organization. And I'll say, Oh, uh, in in, you know, just in beginning of 2018, we had the new CEO come in. Okay. And you, CEO, remember? We tried to put in s a p just after that. Oh, my God. What a disaster. Okay, so and Just by putting that little timeline, they start to mark turning points if you like. And all you have to do is say, Well, tell me what happened there. Nixon and I getting story after story. It's It's fascinating. Yeah

, but my my tip Is that my tip? I was gonna go for two. Then she prayed my own rule. Excellent. Like, but like, I I see said the way got a pretty good guide on our website on anecdote circles, but that would be modestly named Ultimate Guide to Anecdote Circles. Yeah. What were we thinking? Yeah, that was That was a while ago. Yeah, they, uh it's just circling back now toe values. And, you know, we've shared a couple of values stories, but as you know, with with what we're trying to do in this podcast is provide stories that other people can tell right? And I'm just wondering, in your repertoire, I see Is there a story that sort of springs to mind that you think other people might be able to telus a on way to influence and persuade and inspire mhm. I'm gonna see, you know, be in the same

space off values and say, What is a story that can persuade and inspire to use this technique? Yeah, because, you know, one of the things that we've always come in from and I came in from Is that the story? Listening or collecting? And then sharing is away toe embed values. Yeah. And while that is true, there are two other things that have happened with me on in two situations, Which tells me that there is much more to it. That's right. Yeah. So one of the things that I do when I collect the first round of stories. So let's say I've got a story, you know, about 70 stories on transparency. Yeah, or what? People in the organization called transparency. So it happened in this case. Guess where I took those stories and transparency back toe the boardroom where we had all the senior folks, you know, the entire executive committee. Yeah, and I give them these stories and I told them that for the next half an hour, just really these stories and on a scale of 0 to 10 put down

How how appropriate are they for the transparency? Yeah, happen a later. I tabulated this. Andi, I saw that we had a bunch of stories, which low averages and low standard deviation, which means most people believed it is not a good story, which is fine. And then there some, which is high average, low standard deviation, great stories. But there were these stories where there was some people in the room who said, You know, it's a It's a great story on transparency and some other people. No, it's not a great story. And this is the executive committee of the company and we had this 45 minutes discussion using stories to clarify where people were and come to a common understanding. Yeah, and so to me, that was an eye opener. Because if we had asked them without these stories saying, Come to agreement of what you think transparency is, you would have got one person's by English paragraph fighting with another person's English paragraph and

all grown to interpretation. But because they were using stories, they were ableto say, You know, this is because this part of the story is why I think it doesn't work for transparency. Yeah, yeah, that was one example that was an ah ha moment for me. Just on that. I mean, it's sort of, you know, the stories give you ah, lot of movement in the meaning of what you're talking about, in the sense, right? Like, for example, I remember doing a project for a telco, and they just like everyone else is it was going through the whole thing of we're gonna put customers at the center of everything we do, right? And eh? So we went and collected the stories, and there was this story about one of their top sales guys who had just won this multimillion dollar deal and on then, a week after that, he'd won it. He gets a phone call from the customer, and the customer says, Look, I know I

don't shouldn't be ringing you because you're the you know, you you look after the big deals, but I just had this favorite asking that we want to get a couple of extra telephone lines put in. Can you sort that out? You know, and he went Yeah, of course. I mean, he's just done this big deal, So I guess he had no worries. I got it sorted out. So he rings his internal people and says Look, Customer X needs these phone lines and, uh, his own people sort of say, look, because of privacy, we they have to ring themselves. We can't we can't put them on on your behest. And so he hangs up the phone. He rings again. He says, I'm customer X. Can you put these phone lines on right? And they put the fine lines on. Well, the executives had toe, you know, sort of have that conversation about Is this putting the customer at the center of everything you do, or is this breaking some of their integrity value? So there was this really interesting conversation about which way

they should go. They could never go out and tell people to do this, but in fact, in many ways, they wanted their people to do stuff like that. But then you had all these blurring their codes. It's just so fascinating. I find how people use that as a sense making device, right and coming to sense thinking. I think there's one more thing that I'd say before I finish on that same episode. So there was this another company where we again we were doing the same thing using stories toe find, you know, explain values. And typically what we do in Phase two is after I have gone and collected stories and we have selected and we have broadcasted those stories, I encourage companies to now create a system by which every month they would collect, select and broadcast stories about those values being lived right. And, you know, what are the benefits of doing that? One is, of course, it's a great recognition tool for anyone whose story has been selected to be shared. It is a great deal

of pressure tool because if every month I'm reading out stories off other people, I want my team to behave. But one more thing that happened, which again was a big insight to me in this particular company where they had these values. Like I forget all four. But two of them I remember one was think, uh, work fast and in other words, walk together and some work something etcetera. So it clearly basically nicer ways of saying collaboration and teamwork and agility or speed. Right now, there was after we finished the first phase in the second place, they were getting a lot of stories on three things. Yeah, but on walk fast, they were not getting enough stories, so I was still engaged. So I said, You know, let me do one thing. Let me just go back and run a few more anecdote circles to find what is blocking work fast. And we had planned out, you know, force for Metro's Is that one group in Bombay itself? And we had around. So what? This This was an insurance company

. And what the team told me is that you see, we understand what work fastest work fast in our company is to turn around new policy application fast and turn around a claim fast. Right? But you gotta understand that we are a regulated industry, and compliance is an extremely important thing. Our CEO, every quarter town hall talks about walk fast. Our boss every day talks about compliance. Yeah, and compliance is about ticking all the boxes. However, Can I walk fast? If I have to take all the boxes you know, which is checking if the photograph given by the new client is its direct is the a number in the social Security or in our basis for the art hard, hard the same as in the form. Yeah, and clearly they had a bottleneck. And I must give it to that management. Over the next two years, they have used machine learning and AI and stuff like that to actually make that process

far more simple to be done automated rather than just manual, thereby opening the bottleneck. So, to me, what happens with this historic election, which is, if you're not getting in our stories, Uh, then clearly you need to do a little more. Now, why do you have those values? Because as an organization, you believe that if people live those values, you would be able to deliver what you've come here to deliver, right? And so it's like a good a lead indicator that things are not working as well. Yeah, when you don't get enough stories and then you find out what's blocking like, yeah, Oregon values. Ah, way to speed decision making, isn't it? I mean, if you can quickly say yes, we'll do that because it aligns with their values or no, we won't because it doesn't. That's certainly got a spade things up, doesn't it? You know otherwise you're sort of going around around around in circles trying to work things out. Um, what about you, man? Earlier

this year I was having a conversation with a couple of their team and there was a decision that had to be made. And there was much discussion. I said, Let's just play our values on the table. Eso ah, do good things. Have a go take care of each other within maybe three minutes. It's like, Oh, okay. Well, that's pretty obvious. We need to do X. Yeah, exactly. Lee accelerated the decision making process, and we made a really good decision, and we knew why we've made it, Which was good. Yeah. Yeah, very good. The Yeah. Look, I think in this Siri's will be talking even more about this whole space of Yeah, Some people call it narrative insight, narrative inquiry. Uh, story listening is another sort of phrase for it, and it's sort of part of the triumphant off story work techniques that, you know we have out there available to us. Uh, you know, a lot of us spend, you know, especially our industry

. I always say, Oh, industry spends 99% of its time in storytelling, but as You know, we sort of illustrated in this conversation a lot of it. A lot of the power that you can really deliver in this area is comes from story listening, not story telling, right. You gotta get that balance. The third element, of course, is something that doesn't get talked about much, either. We call it story triggering. I'm seeing some others saying things like story doing which I think is the famous story showing story showing eso which I don't know is that Is that story triggering? Do you think, Mark? I don't know. Um, you know, I don't want I don't want to start. It's just for May. It's just Z garbage. It's just somebody trying to brand themselves differently. And, uh, it's even, you know, story showing a story, doing most of them don't use story at all. They just talk about it in a different

way. So I just you know, there's just this morning this morning I was on linked in and there was an article by someone had written an article on the importance of storytelling and, um, yeah, I quickly zipped through it and and there was not a single story in this story telling article, and I I I even started writing, you know, a comment. I said, Well, you know, people who proponents of storytelling really should at least tell one story, you know, it's not hard to do. And I was gonna put a little story in my comment just to show that you could even do it in a comment. And I had written it all out, and I went, Sean, you're looking like a bit of a dick, so I deleted it. It does. It gets to that point where you know, you at least get this fire is writing the actual comment. Um, good. Now, now, in terms of where to next way where I'm just I'd love to get your thoughts. I see on where you think you

know this space is going there. You've seen companies starting to use more mawr than the techniques around story. Um, you know, story listening in the in the projects. I think you know, when you get them to be aware of this, then it seems like Oh, my God, why didn't you do it earlier? But I think that it is still required, which is to go and the other struggling with this area. Yes, they are. Do they know that story? Could be a great way toe? Do it. Some people have. But as you rightly said, we have met cos we've been doing this. Yeah, we've got this 100 story and I said, Can you give me a copy of that? And I'm reading I'm into the 50th sort of paragraph, and I still can't find the story. Yeah, And so that is what that, I think is is what we need to educate them on to What is the story? And how is it so powerful? Yeah, we're still in the e about the future. Yeah. Yeah, well

, it's probably a good time for us toe wrap things up. I want to just remind people to go and check out that corporate storytelling article because it just gives you that, you know, first foot in the door, if you like. In terms of understanding a lthough possibilities associated with, you know, Hagen applies story techniques in organizational settings. And, you know, of course, you all sort of see the section there on values and yeah, and plays feel afraid of, you know, get out there and share it and, you know, have some conversations around it. I think that's probably even better if you could just, uh, you know, sort of get a few colleagues around the table on dso start. Uh, you know, talk about how this could actually work in in real life. I think that would make the difference. Right. Well, thanks for listening to us. Thanks for coming along, toe anecdotally speaking. And thanks. Thanks so much for thanks so much

to i c for joining us today and sharing all of those experiences around values because it's a terrific application of story. Yeah, thanks for having me. And yeah, I'm so excited about every time I go and listen to stories about what The possibilities are fantastic. Okay, guys, we're all the best on duh Tune in next week for another episode of how to Put Your Stories to Work. Bye. For now, anecdotally speaking was engineered by day steaks from author toe audio. Mhm

084 – Corporate Storytelling—Values communication with Indranil Chakraborty
084 – Corporate Storytelling—Values communication with Indranil Chakraborty
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