Q and A with a Story Guru: Paul Smith: Storytelling’s Not Always Right Management Tool but Exceptional at Helping Lead People

See a photo of Paul, his bio, Part 1 of this Q&A, and Part 2.

Q&A with Paul Smith, Question 3

Q: Do some leadership challenges lend themselves better to storytelling than others?

A: Certainly. For example, if you’re trying to decide what your five-year strategy should be, you don’t need a good story. What you need is a good strategist. Or if you’re trying to decide how much money to pay to acquire your biggest competitor, you don’t need a storyteller. You need a good financial advisor.

But once you’ve decided what your five-year strategy is going to be, and you need the 15,000 people that work at your company to line up behind it and deliver it, now you need a good story. Or once you’ve acquired your biggest competitor, and you need the 5,000 people that work there to stay, and not quit, now you need a good story. In short, storytelling isn’t always the right tool to help you manage things; but it’s exceptional at helping you lead people.