Text for Summary of Content by Chapter

Summary of Content by Chapter



  • Why Tell Stories
  • Set a Vision for the Future
  • Set Goals and Build Commitment – “Set Goals and Build Commitments: Goals are most effective when they are clear and unambiguous (like a political election), and the milestones are specific and measurable. See how a political campaign manager learned to define daily success measures anyone can reapply, how a veteran financial advisor at Merrill-Lynch used a competition to get better performance from the up-and-comers, and how the CEO of Procter & Gamble used the lessons he learned as a cadet at West Point to get his six-year-old to clean her room and senior executives to deliver their business goals.”
  • Lead Change
  • Make Recommendations Stick
  • Define Customer Service Success and Failure


  • Define the Culture
  • Establish Values
  • Encourage Collaboration and Build Relationships
  • Value Diversity and Inclusion
  • Set Policy without Rules


  • Inspire and Motivate
  • Build Courage
  • Help Others Find Passion for their Work


  • Teach Lessons
  • Provide Coaching and Feedback
  • Demonstrate Problem Solving
  • Help Everyone Understand the Customer


  • Delegate Authority and Give Permission
  • Encourage Innovation and Creativity
  • Sales Is Everyone’s Job
  • Earn Respect on Day One
  • Getting Started
  • storytelling as a leadership tool
  • setting a vision 
  • building commitment to goals
  • leading change – “Lead Change: The first step to change is getting people to admit change is needed. Learn how Jack Welch got the executives at GE’s nuclear reactor unit to face reality and make a change. Second, recognize people aren’t afraid of change. They’re afraid of not being prepared for it. Hear how an executive learned that lesson from his twin six-year-old boys, and how you can use his story to get your organization to embrace change. Third, learn the secrets of how printer codes and safety buttons create an environment that makes it hard for people not to change. Then reapply those lessons to your change challenge. Lastly, barriers to change will pop up. See how a marketing executive at Bounty paper towels turned a scathing Business Week article into an agent of change.”
  • making recommendations stick – “Make Recommendations Stick: People are naturally more committed to their ideas than your ideas. Turn your idea into their idea by taking your audience on a Discovery Journey through story so they can discover it for themselves.”
  • customer service – “Define Customer Service Success and Failure: Stories of exceptionally good (and bad) customer service show employees how they should or should not treat the customer far more effectively than a customer service manual.”
  • defining culture and values – “Define the Culture: Whoever tells the stories in an organization defines the culture. Establish Values: Values are only words on a piece of paper until they’re tested. Learn how you can find many values hidden in the stories already circulating at your company.” 
  • encouraging collaboration – “Encourage Collaboration and Build Relationships: We don’t tell our personal stories at the office because we work with strangers. They remain strangers because we don’t tell our personal stories. You have to break the cycle. Challenge people to tell their stories, and you’ll never work with strangers again. Stories humanize even the most unapproachable boss or standoffish peer or subordinate. Read how at one global consulting giant, stories can even make the company more money.” 
  • valuing diversity and inclusion – “Value Diversity and Inclusion: What do a sharecropper’s daughter, a West-African traveler, and a junior high school field trip have in common? Answer: their stories can help you create a work force that values and leverages its differences. One of the modern challenges of leadership is how to get the most out of an organization by leveraging the diversity of backgrounds, cultures, experiences, and thought in the room. What makes it uniquely difficult is the sensitive nature of the topic. This chapter leverages a variety of stories, from folktales to brutally poignant biographies, to help navigate these sometime uncomfortable waters.” 
  • setting new policy – “Set Policy without Rules: How do you get employees to follow the rules when most of them have never read the rule book? Employees have always relied on stories of how other people behave to know what they should do. At some companies, they stopped fighting that fact and embraced it. Now they write stories, not rules.” 
  • inspiring and motivating the team – “Inspire and Motivate: Great leaders know inspiration comes from a great story, not a great PowerPoint presentation. Unfortunately, most leaders can’t think of a single inspiring story when they need one.”
  • building courage – “Build Courage: Fear of confrontation, failure, ridicule, or just of the unknown can paralyze individuals or an entire organization. Stories can help your audience overcome that fear, and move on with work and life.” 
  • finding passion for your work – “Help Others Find Passion for their Work: Ever heard the advice, “You really need to love your job!” Does it work? Of course not. You can’t order people to love their job. Far better to help them find the passion for their work, which you can do with some well-chosen stories.”
  • providing coaching and feedback – “Provide Coaching and Feedback: Feedback is one of the few gifts often un-welcomed by the recipient. There are several options to provide feedback in a way that leaves the audience feeling valued, cared for, and wiser.”
  • demonstrating problem-solving – “Demonstrate Problem Solving: You can’t just tell people to “think outside the box.” You have to draw them a bigger box. Stories do that. See what your grandmother’s strategy for untangling a mangled ball of yarn, an Arkansas pediatrician’s patient strategy, and a smashed delivery crate can teach your team about solving just about any messy problem.” 
  • understanding the customer – “Help Everyone Understand the Customer: According to researchers at Microsoft and Kimberly-Clark, storytelling has removed the language barrier between market researchers and business leaders. Learn how a 90-minute interview with one mom in India taught P&G more about the tampon consumer than months of traditional research, and how a bond salesman lost a year’s pay because de didn’t know the first things about his biggest customer…including his name.”
  • delegating authority – “Delegate Authority and Give Permission: Often good managers know the right thing to do for the business, but lack the authority or trust in their own judgement to execute it. Stories in this chapter help in delegating that authority and giving people permission to follow their instincts.”
  • encouraging innovation and creativity – “Encourage Innovation and Creativity: See how some of the most creative people on the planet use stories that start with the words, “What if…” to kick-start the creative process. Plus, learn how one of the inventors that heralded in the Industrial Revolution was almost squelched by a stifling environment, and how one very innovative organization requires its employees to moonlight in order to build their creativity.” 
  • sales is everyone’s job – “Sales is Everyone’s Job: If your sales presentation is in the trashcan, you’d better have a good story. And sales presentations have a way of ending up in the trashcan. Learn a sales technique from Merrill-Lynch that could dramatically improve your top line, and discover the best place for your sales force to get training, and it’s in your office right now.”
  • earning respect on day one – “Earn Respect on Day One: People are going to tell stories about you whether you want them to or not. Choose which ones they tell by telling your own story first. Stories that help your boss, peers, and subordinates know who you are and why you’re there can give you a six-month head start on the road to success. Find your own personal “who” and “why” stories.”



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