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Permission to Speak – Leadership Blog – Kelly Vandever Interviews Deb Lavoy on the Narrative of Your Business


Podcast Logo Episode 12

Permission to Speak

Video Blog & Podcast

Hosted by Leadership Communications Expert Kelly Vandever

Permission to Speak is the video blog and podcast that loiters at the intersections of leaders who want their people to speak up, technology that facilitates connections, and results that serve an organization’s higher purpose.

Our guest for this episode:  Deb Lavoy

Topics discussed:

  • Solving problems that actually mean something to people
  • Selling products & value propositions
  • Narratives from the visionary through to the details that make it real
  • How narratives take over to filter the way we see things
  • The persuasive power of narratives
  • Narrative focused organizations made decisions that make sense
  • Defining narrative versus a brand story
  • Narrative is a system of beliefs that you can use to interpret the meaning of things
  • An organizational narrative needs to have at least 4 components: (1) the big why, the big vision, what is the impact you hope to have on the world.  This is generally where you’ll make an emotional connection with your audience.  (2) the how, what is your approach that enables you to make progress against the vision.  (3) the offer or the ask, what is it that you’re offering, your product, what is it that you deliver against that vision.  (4)  proof such as data and testimonials.
  • If you use the organizational narrative in a participatory way, people will adopt it as their own, they’ll have a stake in it
  • An organizational narrative aligns the way people are thinking so you can work more effectively together
  • The narrative hierarchy
  • As companies grow, it becomes harder to explain the essence of what they do, most companies take it for granted that everybody knows, and this is a big mistake.
  • A good narrative helps bridge the gap between different parts of the organization
  • Simon Synek – Start with Why
  • “Why” is not enough
  • Narrative versus storytelling
  • Stories within your organizations should have something in common, they should be rooted in your organizational narrative
  • Any manager has the ability to build a narrative for their team. In a perfect world, the manager will build the narrative based on the organization’s narrative.  In a less than perfect world, expressing your narrative will help you work better with your team and the other parts of your organization
  • In the absences of a meaningful narrative, it becomes a matter of opinion. And then it becomes political and collaboration starts to breakdown
  • Nike’s narrative is that if you have a body, you are an athlete, their job is to make clothing and equipment to power that athlete
  • “If you have a body, you are an athlete” leads them to make sneakers that you can tie without your hands… it’s almost like the narrative makes it their responsibility to make those sneakers
  • Sugru founder decided that everyday people should be able to fix things, and create and customize things for themselves. That everyone should be a maker, not just people with special skills.
  • Great teams
  • Google’s research on great teams
  • Google research confirmed earlier research in that the best teams were equalitarian with regards to how much each team member spoke
  • Communication tools are important
  • Teams need a shared sense of mission
  • Teams need a common operating picture
  • Great team software facilitates great communications, facilitates relationships and create a common operating picture that teams can use easily
  • Teams that are amazing are the ones where there is mutual respect and trust. It’s not about blaming, it’s about what went wrong and let’s fix it.  The make one another feel good.
  • When teams aren’t functioning well, the problem to fix is how to restore trust.
  • Pleasant surprises along the way… there’s always great people who are willing to help and there’s always great people who need help.
  • People want a connected relationship, you just need to let it happen
  • We all screw up and that is a source of strength if you look at it better. Trust your team to want to do the right thing.
  • Think about the leaders that have made a difference to you… generally they’re the ones willing to embrace the good, the bad and the ugly and always move it toward the positive.