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Storytelling IS Team-Building
How you do the former affects the quality AND DIVERSITY of latter
If team building was a planet, storytelling would be its core. The center of gravity—holding everything and everyone on it, together. Storytelling is indispensable to building and maintaining, not just a team, but a diverse one.
Most people will (at some point in their lives) have an amazing idea for some product or mission. The problem is, as they talk about that idea, they’ll likely only talk about it with languages and references directly related to their product or mission. So, they’ll only attract people that already have a direct interest in their product or mission. Which means, they’ll never get a diverse group of people with diverse imaginations and skill sets. So even though they have an amazing product or mission, when it actually comes to life it looks eerily similar to everything else that’s been done in the particular field or industry.
Storytelling changes all of that.
Your ability to tell a compelling story, to talk about something people think they don’t care about, and connect it to something they do, is like magic (at least it feels that way to both the storyteller and the listener). When your little meteor of an idea crashes into someone’s backyard, everything changes. They can no longer get out of their mind an idea that never crossed their mind before you started talking about it. Speaking to the deep universals of people is one way that people end up saying things like,
“Oh, I've never cared about coffee, until I heard you talk about it. I never imagined that my care and concern and love for equity, justice, entrepreneurship, and platforming marginalized Black and Brown voices would find a home in coffee. Tell me more…
I can’t count the number of conversations I’ve had that ended (or began depending on how you look it) with some variation of the above paragraph.
So many people who were in different disciplines (tech, finance, religious, non-profit, etc.) have found a home in coffee. Not because they were looking to land on that planet, but because strong storytelling was the gravitational force that sucked them in. Honestly, that’s one of the most slept on aspects of storytelling.
It's not just about selling. It's about building a team. And your ability to do the things that you feel called to is directly tied to the people that are in your life and on your teams. Unless you learn how to tell these compelling stories, you're always going to find yourself with a team that just kind of feels like the s curl that don't quite curl.
So remember, storytelling is not just about you. It's about building the team that you were meant to be a part of to accomplish what God has for you to do in the world.
Where do you feel like you need to improve as a storyteller?