Stories have many possible uses. These can range from the tactical approach (e.g. passing on successful sales techniques) to the strategic approach (e.g. conveying global corporate visions). One of the powerful uses for stories is in strategic planning. There are a number of scenario-based planning tools designed to help businesses understand complex dynamics about the future of their businesses and plan accordingly.
For example, Delphi Group is combining its expertise in managing information in digital business practice with OMNI Consulting Group’s expertise in economic intelligence, developing a new consulting venture called Business Foresight Services. As their site says, “The focus of Business Foresight Services is the application of decision sciences for predictive execution of future strategy,” explains Frank J. Bernhard, technology economist and a managing principal of OMNI Consulting Group. The US Army is also using scenario-based planning to better support its installations on the complexity of issues they face.
As technology and bandwidth increase, our ability to share information will also increase. The Information Age will continue to accelerate, flooding our lives with data, audio, video and virtual reality. As organizations struggle to make the best advantage of this flood of information, attempting to harness technology to further their planning, education, training, and knowledge-sharing abilities, it is important for them to remember the power of this ancient tool.
In summary here are the four uses for stories in business that this series covered:
Shaping Corporate Culture
Documenting and Sharing Organizational Knowledge
Developing Business Strategies
Stories are both the past and future for helping organizations to gather, share, learn new ideas and skills and make sense of all the information. Here is the conclusion to our story, started in the initial installment of this six-part serial.
...Sam’s story had helped to break the ice with his new customer. Negotiations lasted a while, but eventually he was able to close the sale. Sam closed his eyes and slowly lifted off the virtual reality helmet. “Boy, that was a tough one,” he whispered as he rubbed his eyes. Sam smiled at some of the ways he used the story to gain his customer’s confidence in the simulation. He also appreciated reviewing the sales success and failure stories contained in the course database. This sales training simulation had been one of the toughest courses to date. He had lived the experience of some tough sales. These story courses were hard, but they certainly prepared you. Sam couldn’t wait to try some of the techniques the next time he faced a real customer with a similar problem. He also looked forward to adding his own sales stories to the database.