There are so many definitions of a leader (better word for a manager). Many words or even articles are trying to define that famous term. Leader is…
Let me explain the subject of this article.
First, is a leader storyteller? If you ask me, YES. A good story is an essential tool for the leader. He needs to know how to present it to his team. Simply, if you say: “You have to do this, you have to do that …” is not the best way to empower your people. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do it at all. But for big and important task definitely not.
Second, he needs to sell a story to his team. What’s in it for me? Why should I complete the task? So many why’s … If a leader doesn’t have answers to those questions, he is not going to sell his story. His story has to be very convincing. Also, the leader must believe in his story, too.
Now you can understand the leader’s main goal. It is to tell the story and sell it. Is there a harder thing to do? These activities are combined, you can’t separate them.
Let’s look at one simple task, told in two different ways.
Mng: “Look, Peter, I’m really dissatisfied with your sales results in Q1. Any explanation?”
Peter: “Ah, so many changes in my sales stuff… The macro situation in the country, no customers in our stores …”
Mng: “Excuses, excuses … You need to do sales follow up on daily basis. For that purpose, we’ve bought a new application. We’ve spent a lot of money on that and I want you to start using it immediately. You can do so many reports with that application and I want them sent on a weekly basis. I want sales results to start growing now. If you need my help, I am here for you.”
Peter thought to himself: “Bah, another stupid application! He expects me to report on a weekly basis! And, does he hear himself saying I want, I want … “
Interesting conversation, hmm? Have you recognized this situation? Unless you have been in a situation like this, don’t read any further!
Aha, still reading? Peter will probably create some reports, without understanding the purpose of the report. Any increase in sales? Maybe, if he was lucky.
Let’s consider another option. Before we start to sell a story, we need to find what Peter values in order to start using application. We need to find a way to improve sales, also.
Q1: What is my main goal?
A1: To improve sale.
Q2: How can I do this?
A2: With better market understanding.
Q3: By which tools?
A3: Using a new application, and doing reports on a daily basis.
Now, we have an idea on which to build our story. I’m not saying that we have a happy ending story, but we have a story. Now, we need to tell and sell it.
Ldr: “Peter, have you seen our new application?”
Peter: “No, I didn’t have enough time previously. Our sales significantly decreased in Q1 and I’ve tried to solve this issue …”
Ldr:”Hmm… Have you created any sales report in Q1?”
Peter: ”No. Why?”
Ldr:” Because you can understand the market in this country better.”
Peter :”Really, how?”
Ldr: “You should start using this application. I’m using it very often. And, guess what? I’ve created a very thorough report for Q1 for your area. As you can see there are some critical points and you should start digging here first.”
Peter: “That’s amazing! I will start to use this application today. And I will send you reports weekly. I feel free to ask if I don’t understand market trends in this country.”
Ldr: “Of course.”
Now you can see a different approach for the same goal. But in second conversation Peter really wanted to start using application. By using this application he will understand market trends better. Sales increase? I can’t promise, but it is worth a try.
The result of this approach has proven record in real sales conversations. Now, we have only to find a scientific explanation 🙂
Remember, it is really important not only what are you telling (story part), but how are you telling (sales part).