Fill the windshield with stories
An organisation that doesn’t use its stories is missing out.
Uncovering and sharing stories can help a company change behaviour, motivate colleagues and nurture culture. Dan Coyle, author of The Culture Code, says organisations need to continually seek and share impactful stories, and to flood the zone with those stories; as he says to ‘fill the windshield’. In his book Coyle references an example from organisational psychologist Adam Grant. Grant was asked by the University of Pennsylvania to look into the low performance of call centre workers. Their role was to phone university alumni and ask them to donate money that was to go towards funding scholarships. The rejection rate stood at 93%.
Grant tracked down a scholarship recipient called Will. He asked Will to write a letter about what his scholarship meant to him. Grant shared Will’s story with the call centre workers. This one action led to an immediate boost in donations. The workers’ incentives hadn’t changed. The task hadn’t changed. The only thing that had changed was that they now had knowledge of a person’s story.
This shows us how sharing stories has many benefits: they connect us with one another, they make vague concepts gettable, they enable us to engage with each other, they give colleagues a hook to hang onto… and so on. Get your employees to buy-in to your purpose. Establish and nurture your culture. And fill the windshield with stories.