The Five Critical Organizational Stories

If you were to ask anyone working at 1960s NASA why they were there, they all would tell you that they were working to put an American on the moon. It didn’t matter if you asked an engineer, a secretary, a janitor or a program director, they would all give you the same answer because they were all driven by the same story. What’s more, they would be able to tell you how their role mattered to the organization and why the mission mattered to them. They could even give you a pretty good status update.

Every organization needs to know where it came from, where it’s going, what it’s doing, why it matters, and why each individual is invested in it. Whether your organization is a non-profit, a startup or an established firm with decades of history, you need to know your stories and how to tell them to different audiences.

You need to know your five critical stories:

  1. History/Foundation: How the organization was formed; what problems were you originally solving; who were the founders and why did they make the leap.
  2. Mission, vision and values in action: Specific examples of your mission, vision and values. Times when the organization did what it said it would do.
  3. People and results, success and failure: Stories of individuals solving problems and exemplifying all that is best in the organization; stories of organizational success with specific people named, the proof that you can do what you say; stories of organizational failure and how you learned/changed/grew.
  4. Personal commitment: Why are you, the storyteller, with the organization. Why does it matter to you.
  5. Manifesto: The future. Where is this organization going and why should anyone care?

To explore your stories, how you can use them, and what they can teach you about your organization, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.