Organizations aren't about products, services, or even owners. They're a set of interactions based on a foundation of trust. Before you can trust, you have to know who someone is; you have to know their story. So any good leader needs to have that story ready, and have it perfect.


Any organization is only as good as its network. But still, most people don't know how to network effectively. More introverted personalities tend to feel that their skill and accomplishments will build into a snowballed set of contacts. They might, but that approach can also easily end in failure. Like it or not, we're not a meritocracy; being skilled isn't the same as being good at your job. On the other side, extroverted personalities tend to feel that "pollinating" is enough. That is, they know lots of people, and people might be willing to take risks on them, but they often burn out, don't commit, or are unable to fully execute. The key to a middle ground is to find the right story. 

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Leadership and Storytelling

Effective leaders build and maintain relationships through trust. Threatening or begging employees, clients, leads, and other stakeholders just isn't sustainable as a business practice, and it certainly doesn't make for a happy or productive life. What's important to remember, however, is that every stakeholder in your life and in your organization needs to understand to some degree where you're coming from, and how you see them as part of that plan.

There are many styles of leadership, of course, and not even the best theories explain them all. Being a leader is a relationship; it's like having a family, dating, and being married all at once. What matters is that everyone is willing to work with you to make success happen, because they've become part of your story, and they want to stay that way. Emphasizing openness, diversity, and experience, as well as constantly engaging with your stakeholders, is key to long term success.

Connect your story →

Storytelling and the Organization

It isn't enough to just be a good person, to be interesting, and to have a good network that trusts you and is excited to work with you. The work itself, the organization you're building or maintaining, has to have its own story. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of connecting themselves to closely to the organization, which limits growth and can breed discontent with your stakeholders. Many CEOs of more established companies, by contrast, divest themselves of the need to maintain the organization as a story, which leads to a lack of understanding of strategy and potentially to either breakdown or crisis. A more holistic approach looks at the story as a complex system of interactions and goals, not just a top-down or bottom-up vision.

Bring it all together →