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Think big, start small, start now

We know business storytelling at scale can move people. A good story, told well, can persuade people to act. Persuasion is the centrepiece of business activity. It can convince consumers to buy a product or service, employees to buy into a new programme, purpose, brand or strategic plan, investors to part with hard-earned cash, and a leader to invest in an initiative that’s going to bring value to a business. 

The ability to share compelling and engaging stories is probably the most under-utilised business skill. At a time where things around us are dramatically changing fast, business leaders are in a prime position to lead the charge and help people navigate change. 

In our May Exchange we’re asking business leaders how we can tackle storytelling at scale, here are some thoughts to start the conversation.

1. Storytelling to mobilise change

Steve Jobs said: “The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values and the agenda of an entire generation to come.”

Find the human story, the why behind the what, and keep it simple. Share it, to generate passion, focus efforts, build a community of champions and change makers, and get buy-in up to board level. With consumers, use storytelling not just to sell products and services but to create brand loyalty.

Building the future needs motivated people and teams who are able and empowered to innovate, build fast, go deep, pivot and respond. They need an impetus to act and embrace change, seeing leaders’ words and passion being backed by actions and integrity. Transformation, small and large, can start with one person and ripple out, to become new ways of thinking and doing. 

So where do you start? And how do we champion a different way of thinking and secure leadership support if the ROI can’t be directly measured?

2. Cultures of change: Ambition vs reality

Being innovative and designing for the future will often involve getting colleagues across teams to care about your project and its potential impact as much as you do. How you tell the story is a vital aspect of mobilising change.

Find internal influencers who will share the love and tell the story. Just 3% of a team, if they’re the right 3%, can influence 85% of the same team. They’re the people who drive change, and typically they’re not managers. Influencers can build a movement and spread the ripples across the company.

Magnetic worked with global engineering firm WSP on its mission to be net zero internally by 2050 and halve the carbon footprint of its work by 2030. They needed to create a movement for change across the company.

Together, we identified a group of hyper-connected people within WSP. We used storytelling to make the complex simple and reinforce this ambitious vision. This equipped and empowered them to help 7,000 engineers to think greener, lighting a small flame that’s making change and impact happen on a huge scale. 

However, our workforce has undergone a huge amount of change over the last two years. There’s mounting pressure to drive growth through rapid product and service development and turn consumer insight into action fast. Creating cultures that empower and enable employees to explore and experiment will be essential to tackle the challenges on leaders’ agendas. How do we galvanise our people to embrace a culture of change when the workforce is experiencing change fatigue?


Get involved in the conversation

On Wednesday 10th May, 8.30–9.30am, we invite leaders to explore how storytelling can move people and mobilise change.

Join the conversation by registering for your free ticket here, and sign up to our monthly newsletter to keep up to date.

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