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The Parable of the Croissant

September 22, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Photo from seriouseats.com

Few breads stimulate my taste buds like a freshly baked croissant. Golden brown slightly crunchy crust yields to lovely layers of flaky delight.  Add some real butter and a  little jam and you have the makings of one of the perfect breakfast or snack foods.  No wonder that the following story about a croissant caught my eye.

Can cultural storytelling transform an organization?  Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, think so and in a guest post on Michael Hyatt’s blog, they talk about what I have called the “parable of the croissant.”  I assume this is a story from their new book,  The Orange Revolution: How One Great Team Can Transform an Entire Organization,

Gostick and Elton write,

“Breakthrough teams tell such stories frequently and with passion. It is a secret ingredient of their success. Stories are vital in helping individuals understand how world-class results are achieved and in making the possibility of doing so believable. Such tales have a way of perpetuating success. The listener retells the story and, more importantly, internalizes its message and becomes part of the story.”

They then provide four “tips for modeling storytelling among your team members” of which I am only giving you an outline.

  1. Share the truth, nothing but the truth.
  2. Catch their interest early.
  3. Tie it to your team’s core values.
  4. Keep it simple.

I am intrigued by this concept.  Now that I think of it, I have felt most alive and excited about and in an organization when we shared stories of what we were all accomplishing together.  Story brings to life the vision, mission and core values that we may have worked so hard to formulate.  But an intentional focus on eliciting stores comes with a cost–time and energy are required for stories to be shared in the contexts of  relationship, community and trust.  In many organizations and teams, I suspect that one side of the building (or room) may have little idea about the efforts, much less the stories, of their companions laboring on the other side. I am convinced that the success of one team in our organization is directly connected to the way they intentionally and constantly elicit and share stories,

What can you do today to cultivate cultural storytelling on your team and in your organization?

About that croissant, you will need to read Gostick and Elton’s post.

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