Calling All Story Practitioners: What’s Your Take on These Questions about Storytelling in Management, Leadership?

Pia Christina Bröckelmann is a student in Mexico conducting research for her thesis on “Storytelling in Management – an Effective Tool for Leadership.” Her deadline is very tight; she needs responses this week (March 25 at the latest).

She has been interviewing story practitioners, such as Paul Smith and Karen Dietz, and would like to interview more. Since I’m a curator/reporter rather than a practitioner, I’m not in a position to be as helpful as a practitioner would be.

“I have already reviewed a lot of literature (including academic papers and journal articles) on how storytelling works; its benefits; etc.,” Pia says. “Therefore, I am now more interested in corporate effects measurable impact of storytelling, since there is only a little information about this aspect. I am also interested in examples of problems that companies solved using storytelling.”

If you can help Pia, please email her. The first set of questions indicated in bold type are those she considers most important.

General Questions

  • What types of companies normally use storytelling as a leadership tool and demand your trainings? Multinationals, large enterprises, medium-sized companies, etc.? Which nationalities have already discovered the benefits of storytelling and which resist accepting them? Mostly American companies or also those from other countries?
  • From which industries are those companies that have already implemented storytelling into their management techniques? Is there a focus on a specific industry or is it cross industries?
  • Why do companies implement storytelling? (Is it a trend? Do they want to be up-to-date/modern or do they really see the benefit? Do companies tend to implement storytelling in difficult situations when problems occur (e.g., during merger and acquisitions, job cuts)? What triggers their decision to implement storytelling?)
  • In which field/area of management is storytelling most effective? Which management challenges cannot be solved with storytelling?
  • How does a company implement storytelling to their management techniques? How do they convince each manager to adopt the concept? How do they communicate the change?
  • Does a company need a certain structure to implement storytelling successfully?
  • Which attributes/characteristics does a CEO or a manager need to maximize the impact of storytelling?

Quantitative Questions

  • How many companies have already implemented storytelling into their management techniques? What percentage (approximately)?
  • Can you say something about the rate of success of storytelling? Maybe some examples where companies solved problems through storytelling and where the success was somehow measureable?
  • Which methods can be used to measure/quantify the success of storytelling?
  • Does the implementation of storytelling into a company’s management techniques also have a financial impact? Is it measurable? Maybe you could present an example?
  • Have you noticed any correlations between the implementation of storytelling and other factors; for example the rate of women, multicultural variety, global players, listed companies, companies where PR is really important, etc.?
  • Have you any experience with German companies which implemented storytelling?
  • Have you any advice on how to convince a traditional German company to implement storytelling
  • And finally … Do you think that psychological methods such as storytelling will be established as acknowledged management techniques in the near future? Will they replace traditional ones?