Don't we all love a good story? As a child we all grew up hearing stories from our grand parents, parents, uncles and teachers. If not an aural story, we have read countless ones through our childhood and teenage years. We still remember the classic ones and the special ones that we had heard from our parents or grandparents. All these stories were told to us to help us understand a moral or a teaching of some kind or purely as a form of entertainment. It’s meant to assist in drawing parallels to lessons or a point or purely for enjoyment.
Why not apply this to our working lives in the corporate world. While it could be used to illustrate a point on the values or the vision, it could also be a business lesson on entrepreneurship or more specifically intrapreneurship. Generally, during orientation, various real stories are related to new employees about how the owner of the company started and his or her road to success through the years overcoming hardships. I do recall being told about how Jay Pritzker started the first Hyatt Hotel (then called Hyatt House) started when I first joined the company. And that “story” has stayed with me as an example of sheer enterprise and vision.
Similarly, at Town Hall meetings, CEOs and other leaders do convey stories of achievements and success of various executives. This is thought to inspire up and coming executives to validate their own motivations to create and perform. When you hear the stories of the founders of FaceBook, Twitter, Bitcoin, Uber etc. or stories of companies that have turned their fortunes around during difficult times through the creativity and efforts of some very enterprising employees, it is meant to inspire and motivate others to do the same.
However, it may not have to be such gigantic efforts in creating such successful companies, it could also be small gestures or efforts taken by ordinary employees to save various situations or create intraprenuerial opportunities to make a small step towards improving the operations or implementing revenue generating efforts.
Stories are meant to inspire, motivate and even entertain and when told to employees at Town Hall meetings with their photos or a video highlighting their efforts, it can go a long way. At Kerzner, our CEO used to reward and recognise these heroes and make them feel special, thereby acknowledging their contributions. Every Town Hall meeting was an event and all employees used to look forward to attend these. Make every story into an event and every employee a hero featured in these stories. You will begin to reap rewards in terms of loyalty and service.