In leadership, great story telling is a powerful tool. People, or your tribe, connect to the idea presented in a good story. A good story also gives others permission to join your tribe. They can relate to someone in a similar life situation, maybe normal people doing incredible things. But do you know where a really good story becomes less effective?
It becomes less effective at you, the leader.
Why? Well, what many organizational leaders do is they look to produce the best possible story they can. Typically, they do it by video. Leaders will seek out talented story tellers and pay them to capture and produce a video. The video is good. The video might even go viral. But the leader has made a drastic mistake and just waisted financial resources.
There is no call to action. Meaning the story was good but it didn't give the viewers something to do. They don't know how to participate. Without a call to action a leader knows people has seen it but has no idea how to connect with tribe members who want to help.
So great stories meet their end when a leader fails to craft a story with a substantial call to action. And when a leader fails to involve a call to action in story telling it also limits the ability of the tribe to connect together. They have nothing to rally around besides a share button.
A great example of this was yesterdays anti-slavery campaign by the End It Movement. The call to action was simple, on February 27th write a red X on your hand. At first you might see slactivisim in action. The skeptic says, "What good does a red X on a person's hand do?" But think about it, the End it Movement found out yesterday they have some power players in their tribe. All they have to do is search for their hashtag and find the faces of people who also have their own tribes following them. By networking with these folks and creating more call to actions they are only going to become a stronger organization. More awareness leads to more tribe members and more tribe members means more people to get their hands involved.
So what should you do when you want to create a powerful story to rally and connect your tribe? Here's four things to keep in mind :
1. Know when to tell the story - Give Dan Portnoy a call, he's the best resource I know around developing a great story and *when* to share your story. You can learn more at www.portnoymediagroup.com, but I recommend getting Dan's book: The Non-Profit Narrative. I would recommend this book to any business as well, it's applicable in the for profit world as well.
2. Define your call to action - What response can your tribe have? As I mentioned above the End It Movement nailed with a simple physical action and a hashtag to accompany the action. We make fun of the hashtag but it's a powerful connection tool. But utilizing a hashtag is mission critical for a leader to connect with people they didn't know were in the tribe or for the tribe to connect with one another and share a passion.
3. Know how to find tribe members - If you've done it right online and equipped your tribe with an action and a hashtag you'll know how to find them. I prefer www.tagboard.com, which is an online tool that searches across multiple social media sites and pulls them all together in a single place. Easy research to grow your tribe.
4. Say, "I see you" - If you have a call to action you have to act like you care that people are particapting. This is simply done by retweeting or commenting. If the tribe feels like a leader doesn't participate than they will stop participating.
I get really excited about you leading your tribe well. I get really excited about you sharing stories that call people into action and they get off their butts and change the world around them! That sounds like leadership.
What stories have you responded too? Why did you respond and what did they ask you to do?