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Motivating Your Team At Work Using Stories
6 Nov 2017

Formula For Motivating Your Team At Work Using Stories

Motivating your team at work involves communication. Stories are powerful communication tools. A proven formula exists for using stories to motivate others. It integrates the head and the heart.

Motivating By Appealing To Head and Heart

This article, “Structure Your Presentation Like A Story,” by Nancy Duarte, deals with the head. This one, “The Science of Pep Talks,” by Daniel McGinn, deals with the heart. Together they cover the two aspects of any interaction between people.

Think of this as building a house. First, the house goes up. This is the head part, the rationale. Next, it’s decorated. This part is the heart, the emotion making a house a home.

The Story Formula For Motivating Your Team At Work

Stories can be an important part in motivating your team at work if they have a beginning, middle and end, and if they appeal to the heart as well as to the head.

Motivating your team at work through stories means they must not only appeal to the rational side (head) of your people but also the emotional (heart).

The story house has three parts:

  1. The way things are today (Beginning).
  2. The way things could be tomorrow (Ending).
  3. How to get from here today to there tomorrow and why it works (Journey).

To make this story house a story home, decorating of each part occurs by adding emotion:

  1. How do you feel and how do you think others feel about the way things are today.
  2. How would you feel and how do you think others would feel about the way things could be.
  3. Express confidence and certainty that the team could get there.

Examples Of Using The Story Formula

For instance, the way things are today, I feel that I could do much better at motivating my team. If I could do this, I would feel great. This formula will help me do that. It’s simple enough that I know I can use it well.

Look at this formula though as a building block. One could put several of these blocks together in one interaction. Each block could describe one aspect of a much larger effort.

Here’s one, relationships. The way things are today, this formula would help but I don’t feel I know my team well yet. I’m new. Getting to know them better would allow me to lay some groundwork, thus making me feel more confident. Reviewing the relationship building tools I’ve learned would help too. They helped me before.

Remembering The House: Beginning, Ending and Journey

These are simple, almost one-liner examples. In interactions with others, one would need to reflect on the feelings the other person or team has in each part. This would likely be feedback one received in previous discussions.

Still, remember that house when motivating your team at work using a story. Have a beginning, an ending and a journey. Build each part. Then, decorate each part.

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