Story Telling vs Success Theatre

Story Telling vs Success Theatre

I keep hearing more and more organizations urging that their leaders learn the art of “story telling” – the emotional and passionate style of communicating in a way that is impactful, inspiring and of course persuasive.

Needless to say, Coaches are asked if they have in their tool kit a tool to help their coachees unleash the power of story telling.

It is indeed useful to learn how to communicate in a way that your style does not compromise on the substance that you have – I repeat, your style of communicating does not do injustice to your substance. This is great. In other words, story telling is about your ability to help others see things as good as they really are.

But I must warn that like all strengths and skills, this one is not to be overused or used in a way that is “untruthful”.

The opposite of “story telling” to me is “success theatre”. It is a phrase of caution often used by John Flannery, CEO of GE in response to what he saw leaders at GE engage in. ” No more success theater” he is quoted as saying.

I have seen Leaders engage in story telling and I have also seen leaders engage in success theatre. When I listened to story telling, I had goose bumps. When I listened to success theatre, I did not know where to look.

I also think that there are times when the line is thin.

Many pundits are predicting that 2023 will be less success theatre for some and some good story telling for some others.

What do you think?

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