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Share Your Growth Vision by Telling Your Story Better

Jan 20, 2008
You want to grow to being a much larger organization. That means adding a lot more customers and beneficiaries.

As hard as it is to figure out how to achieve that kind of goal, it's even harder to explain what needs to be done to colleagues, partners, suppliers, distributors, and others who need to help you. This article describes how you can use a simple story to get the point across.

Here's an example of such a story that I use to explain the importance of playing a big enough role in peoples' lives when designing breakthroughs to deliver more results:

"One of my students who was a missionary pilot wanted to develop a breakthrough solution for flying relief supplies in war-ravaged and drought-stricken areas. He initially focused on flight safety, on-time arrival at the landing strips, and other flight-related measurements. I pointed out to him that what he was focusing on didn't make any difference if the food, medicines, and supplies didn't rapidly get to the people who most needed them.

"Refugees were starving for lack of timely food arrivals and officials didn't know what to do to improve.

"Responding to that observation, the student chose instead to see his job as supervising a system for delivering the supplies to those who needed them. This focus meant coordinating with those who trucked and carried the food from the airstrips and being sure that distribution methods were effective in refugee camps and other disaster relief areas. With that shift in focus, food and medicine began arriving sooner and in greater quantities for those who had the greatest need.

"Imagine if everyone took a similarly broad view of being sure that results are improved for those most in need."

Turn your idea into a brief, interesting story, of less than 150 words, that you can tell others to describe the opportunity presented by your idea. A good resource for developing that story can be found in Stephen Denning's book, The Springboard (Butterworth-Heinemann, 2001).

Here are the elements you should put into a positive story:

-A short statement of the problem ("Refugees were starving for lack of timely food arrivals.")

-Wording that puts the listener into the story to feel the bare bones of the predicament (" . . . and officials didn't know what to do to improve.")

-A protagonist people can relate to who is like themselves; for example, missionary pilots want to hear about their colleagues ("One of my students who was a missionary pilot . . . ")

-A protagonist who employs the indicated approach (" . . . wanted to develop a breakthrough solution for flying relief supplies in war-ravaged and drought-stricken areas.")

-A description of the solution to the problem (" . . . the student chose instead to see his job as supervising a system for delivering the supplies to those who needed them.")

-A real or potential happy ending ("With that shift in focus, food and medicine began arriving sooner and in greater quantities for those who had the greatest need.")

-A statement that alerts the listener or reader to the potential of this resolution ("Imagine if everyone took a similarly broad view of being sure that results are improved for those most in need.")

-An ending that leaves the listener to draw her or his own conclusions about what to do next.

Tell your story and use the feedback you receive to improve your story. Also keep track of the concerns that people raise about your story. Address those concerns by improving your story and great understanding will follow.
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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