The Progress Project

How to create real impact

people creating an impact in business

I was enthralled and enraged in equal measures when I watched the ITV docu-drama “Mr Bates v The Post Office”. And I wasn’t alone.

Despite being reported on by various papers, even Panorama, over the years – it was this programme that riled the general public, forcing swift(er) action by the Government.

So what made the difference now, 20 years on?

The story.

We got to see the true impact that the scandal had on people’s lives. We got to empathise with their situation. We were moved by their plight and the sheer injustice.

Psychologically, it makes perfect sense. Our brains are hard-wired to be influenced by story far more than evidence and data. Even when we believe we’re entirely rational.

“Stories help us see and hear feel things from a different perspective and provide context, meaning and opportunities to strengthen relationships.” (Excerpt from Insead article “How storytelling makes you a better leader” – Click here to read it in full)

So what does this mean for you?

First of all, see where you could use story before data. Perhaps using data to back up your story instead of leading with it.

This could be:

  • In a team meeting
  • In a training session
  • In a briefing to the Exec

For example, instead of sharing stats from an Engagement survey, maybe share the story of the actions one leader put in place, the impact on communication / relationships and the difference it’s made to their performance, productivity and retention as a result.

I’d love to know if you try it out – please leave a comment below. It sometimes takes a pinch of courage and a smidge of practise to give it a go in a high-stakes situation. So why not practise with your team first?

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