5 Credibility Killing Stories You Should Avoid

By Dr. Mark Goulston; originally published in The Business Journals on February 9, 2018. 

If you have read some of my previous articles, you know that I often make a more compelling case for something by pointing out the “Don’ts” to cause you to wake up to their destructive power if you’re doing them.

For instance, saying that leaders should engender trust, confidence and respect is so obvious as to be yawn, yawn, non-compelling. However, ask people the effectiveness of a leader if he/she instead engenders distrust, doubt and embarrassment, and you’ll receive a powerful, “They will fail!” (and sometimes, “And I’ve got one like that!”)

On this occasion, I am focusing on the concept of storytelling. More and more, we hear about preaching this to companies and imploring CEOs and others to increase their influence through effective storytelling. That said, ROI CEOs (and aren’t they all?) and salespeople often pooh-pooh storytelling as too “woo woo.”

Well, there is another way to make a case for the power of storytelling by using the power of negatives and of the “Don’ts.”

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Stories: Effective Leaders’ Must-Have Tools

By Roger Dean Duncan, originally posted to DuncanWorldwide.com on January 15, 2018. 

Good stories have a power all their own. They can make complex issues understandable. They can give people a sense of community. They can call people to action in ways they never imagined.

As a young journalist many years ago I covered large events ranging from business conventions to religion conferences to political rallies. I always watched and listened to the speakers very carefully. But most revealing was what I observed in the audiences. When a speaker said something like “Let me illustrate with a story,” the audience would always become more alert and attentive. It was as though the listeners were thinking “Okay, here comes the really good stuff.”

So why don’t more leaders have storytelling in their toolbox of skills? That’s always been a mystery to me. But one thing’s for sure: the value of good stories and effective storytelling cannot be overemphasized.

Kevin Cashman certainly knows this. In the updated edition of his fine book Leadership from the Inside Out he highlights many of the whys and wherefores of good storytelling. He shared some of his insights in a recent interview.

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Leading with Inspiration

Originally published to Korn Ferry Institute on September 24, 2017.  

In his book, “Leadership from the Inside Out: Becoming a Leader in Life,” Senior Client Partner Kevin Cashman writes about how you have to grow yourself as a person in order to grow yourself as a leader. In this excerpt, Cashman explains how to use stories to inspire action. 

Stories elevate the mind and the heart to go beyond what is, to mobilize us and others to reach new possibilities. Annette Simmons, group process consultant, understood this dynamic when she wrote, “People do not want information. They are up to their eyeballs in information. They want faith—faith in you, your goals, your success, in the story you tell.” Science has demonstrated that stories, especially stories that sustain our attention with a narrative arc and some tension, have the unique force to move us intellectually and emotionally at the same time.

In “Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling,” Harvard Business Review, scientist Paul Zak explains that his lab discovered more than a decade ago that the neurochemical oxytocin is necessary for humans to feel safe. Zak says, “It does this by enhancing a sense of empathy.” Our brain produces more of it each time we experience kindness and trust.

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