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Storytelling as a Business Tool

Why storytelling in organizations?

View a brief (5minutes, 55 second) video in which Doug explains why storytelling can help make any organization more efficient and effective. In the process, Doug tells a story, "The Beggar and the Poet."

(To view, please click on the Play triangle at the bottom of the box to the right.

Trouble viewing it? Please click here.)

After the video, please read the follow-up article, Six Things You Need, in Order to Leverage the Power of Storytelling in Your Organization.

Storytelling is not just for children anymore. It is a vital tool for those who speak, of course, but also for those who seek to communicate about complex problems. Every great leader has a grand story to tell - and that story is the most efficient way to create a shared vision.

Doug Lipman began telling stories to troubled adolescents when no other form of talking seemed to reach them. When he lectured, they resisted. But when he told them tales, they became partners on the imaginative journey of story. Their hunger, he realized, was not only for the actual stories he told, but for a mode of communication. As CBS News quoted Lipman, "As wonderful as television and media are, it’s not a person looking you in the eye, changing based on your response. People are hungry for that live interaction."

Over the years, he discovered that story is too powerful a tool to restrict to the arts. A former mathematics major, he applied his analytic abilities to some of the paradoxes of storytelling:

  • a story moves everyone forward together, but on individualized pathways;
  • a story originates with the teller, but creates meaning that is owned by the listener;
  • a story is indirect, but requires absolute clarity of intention;
  • a story simplifies in a way that can express complex truth.

Lipman believes that knowledge of narrative, oral language, imagery, and the relationships involved in storytelling can assist companies in four important "C’s":

  1. Communication,
  2. Cooperation,
  3. Clarification of intention, and
  4. Creation of shared vision.

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Doug Lipman

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This page was last updated on December 28, 2008
Copyright©2003 Doug Lipman