Creative Leadership Coaching

8 Steps to Leading through Storytelling

Creative Leadership Coaching is exciting as always, to collaborate with other creative leaders in all different industries.  For this week’s Creative Life blog, Patrick Ross has graciously offered some insight on how to artfully lead via the ever creative and engaging method of narrative by essentially redefining what we traditionally think of as “story telling” itself.  Patrick has a talent for highlighting the presence of the creative process in our daily lives, freeing it from the lofty abstract and connecting it to our sense of wonder, social interactions and natural curiosity.  Enjoy!

8 Steps to Leading through Storytelling

by Patrick Ross

Leadership is storytelling. It is the successful communication of your own story in a manner that connects among those you work with and guide. It is empowering others to tell their own stories with resonance. It is bringing alive a product or service through a connecting narrative.

You lead by example. How well do you tell your own story?

“If you buy that we are our stories, then we literally listen ourselves into existence.” That critical observation was made by Designing Life founder Jack Ricchiuto recently at the Creativity in Business Conference 2011 in Washington, D.C. Ricchiuto was one of many
workshop leaders who, without coordination, emphasized the importance of a well-communicated personal narrative.

Did you know that your “About” page is likely one of the top 5 visited pages on your web site? Get Storied President Michael Margolis does. He also said visitors linger on that page on average 30% longer than anyone else on your site. People hunger for stories, and stories are how people define you.

Remember that we are always networking, and networking is storytelling. “When you make connections, you are storytelling,” said Kat Koppett, a leader of improv workshops with business teams.

How can you lead and inspire creativity through a better telling of your own story? Here are 8 steps:

  1. Honestly assess yourself. “We are terrible judges of ourselves,” said Koppett. You need to categorize your strengths and weaknesses, and emphasize where you shine.
  2. Promote your worth. “Your own perceived worth and value is connected to your story,” Margolis said. This point seems obvious, but review what you tell about yourself, and ask if it emphasizes the value you bring to others.
  3. Know your audience. Koppett teaches this lesson through improv. You need to understand who you are communicating with, because what represents worth to one audience may not resonate with another.
  4. Make your story resonate. “When there’s resonance, there’s deep connection with a larger imagination space,” Ricchiuto said. When you know yourself, promote your worth, and know your audience, your story will connect, with deeper and more lasting impact.
  5. Celebrate failure. This may seem counterproductive to promoting worth, but every inventor and entrepreneur knows failure is merely a valued step on the road to success.  Embracing failure in your narrative makes it easier to connect with your audience through your honesty, while highlighting your ability to learn and adapt.
  6. Focus on your destination. Inspire people with a focus on where you are going, the further into the future as possible. “The impossible is what takes longer,” Ricchiuto said, and we are always inspired by stories of the impossible.
  7. Promote your reinvention. “We are all going through reinvention, Margolis said. “Do we have a language for that story?” Everyone is either actively engaged in or strongly weighing some sort of change in their life. Sharing yours will resonate.
  8. Demonstrate continuity. Show your reinvention as another step in a longer path. “We don’t want a change story, we want a continuity story,” Margolis said. Reinvention brings inspiration when it is coupled with the comfort of continuity.

It’s safe to say I left that conference more focused than ever on finding resonance with those I work with and those I coach. I’m also focused on helping them bring the same tools to their own narrative. And I’m pleased to say I found resonance with Jack Ricchiuto after the conference at a Georgetown bar. He followed my lead by ordering what I was drinking, my favorite drink–a dry martini with Hendrick’s gin, up with three olives.  Sometimes it only takes one small step to connect.

Patrick Ross is President of Ross Strategic Communications LLC. He coaches Washington, D.C., based advocacy groups and individual artists and creators on how to better tell their own stories. An award-winning journalist and creative writer, he has overcome numerous rejection letters while refocusing on an art-committed life by pursuing an MFA in Writing. Read his musings on creativity, writing and the art-committed life at his blog The Artist’s Road. Follow him on Twitter at @on_creativity.

If you are interested in shaing your creative insights as a guest blogger with the CLC community, we would love to hear from you.



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