Storytelling in general is a communal act. Throughout human history, people would gather around, whether by the fire or at a tavern, and tell stories. One person would chime in, then another, maybe someone would repeat a story they heard already but with a different spin. It’s a collective process.
We learned in Chapter 1, through our story of Ogilvie’s, that doing business is about connecting with people. Successful organizations understand that business starts with a connection, and there is no better way to connect than through a story. Why is that? Because ultimately stories embody the very way we represent and observe ourselves in the world around us. “We all write our stories as if we were novelists . . . with beginnings, conflicts, turning points, and endings. And the way we characterize our past setbacks profoundly influences how satisfied we are with our current lives.”1 Stories captivate us because we are constantly characters in our own life stories, which is why they make such great vehicles to connect an organization to an audience—we see ourselves in the story, we empathize or vilify the characters, and we feel like we are actually there, in the moment. This leads to a lot of real benefits for organizations to employ storytelling. Below are a few of the most poignant: