Tanveer Naseer

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

3 Storytelling Elements That Successfully Drive Change

3 powerful lessons leaders can learn from storytelling that will help them to effectively drive change in their organization.

Leaders face an ever-growing number of challenges leading their organization in today’s faster-paced, increasingly interconnected world. One of the more common issues a leader has to address is dealing with change.

In most cases, when we talk about change, the focus is often on the process – of what steps we need to implement to ensure we achieve a successful outcome. And yet, what we fail to take into consideration is how using the power of storytelling can help us to ignite effective and sustainable change within our organization.

To illustrate what I mean, allow me to share this story of Mary, a fellow team leader who I worked with a few years ago.

At one of our weekly team leader meetings, Mary talked about a plan she had shared with the organization’s senior leadership about a new change initiative. As Mary described the details of her proposal, she pointed out the various benefits it would create for the organization in the upcoming years.

It was clear to everyone around the table that Mary had not only done her homework in conceptualizing this change initiative, but that she was also very passionate about her proposal.

Now, normally, when someone proposes any kind of change initiative, people tend to fall into one of three groups – one group that almost immediately loves the idea, another group that takes a more guarded wait-and-see stance, and the final group that actively resists it either because they don’t agree or because they’re concerned about what unexpected issues this change will give rise to.

But as I looked around at the various team leaders, I didn’t see supporters, naysayers, or those taking a more neutral, cautious stance. Instead, what I saw was a complete lack of interest in Mary’s proposal, something that became all the more apparent when Mary asked if anyone had any questions and was met with vague shrugs and silence.

On the surface, Mary’s idea wasn’t overtly good or bad, so why did the other leaders around that conference table react to her change proposal with such indifference?

While we might think the issue is tied specifically to the technical aspects of her change initiative, a closer look at how Mary went about presenting her proposal demonstrates a failure to consider three fundamentals to effective storytelling and how these elements can be powerful devices for driving change in your organization.

1. Craft a simple, memorable message of what you’re trying to achieve
As a writer, I enjoy watching movies and TV shows that create complex storylines that slowly unravel and evolve as the story progresses. When it’s done right, it allows for both a deeper look inside a character’s motivations, as well as creating a more rich experience as the viewer delves further into this imaginary world.

Of course, the problem with complex storytelling is Click here to continue reading »”3 Storytelling Elements That Successfully Drive Change”

How A Sense Of Community Can Help Us Achieve Greatness

Organizational-community-fosters-greatness

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of being interviewed by various media outlets about my first book, “Leadership Vertigo”. What’s been interesting about this process is how in many of these conversations, there was much interest to discuss the point made in the book about the importance of leaders fostering a sense of community in their organizations.

As long-time readers of my writings on leadership know, this is something that’s been an underlying theme in many of my insights into how we can be a better leader to those we serve – where we ensure that we’re creating an environment where our employees understand the value of their contributions and why we collectively do what we do.

Of course, in these conversations about my book, the focus is not on the relevance of community-building in today’s organizations, but rather how do we go about doing this in light of the numerous demands on a leader’s time, attention and resources while operating in a doing-more-with-less environment.

It’s a great question and the answer to which is one that I want to share with my readers so that they too can understand how we can go about fostering that sense of community in our organizations despite the accelerated pace that we now have to operate in.

And to help illustrate these points, I’m going to use examples from two very diverse organizations – Pixar Animation Studios and the European Space Agency – in order to help demonstrate the value and importance of fostering a sense of belonging and purpose to helping your organization to succeed and thrive now and in the years ahead.

1. Create opportunities for employees to interact outside of formal roles
When Pixar began designing its new campus ground in Emeryville, California, then Chairman and CEO Steve Jobs wanted to create a common meeting space for the organization’s employees in order to facilitate sparks of creativity, inspiration, and “unplanned collaborations”.

The goal in establishing such an environment was simple – by creating an open space for people to meet and discuss, employees from different departments would be encouraged to Click here to continue reading »”How A Sense Of Community Can Help Us Achieve Greatness”

Credibility Is the Foundation Of Leadership

Credibility-leadership-vertigo

For the third part of this month-long series celebrating the release of my first leadership book (which will be available in bookstores and through online retailers), “Leadership Vertigo”, I’m delighted and honoured to welcome James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, authors of the international best-seller and groundbreaking leadership book, “The Leadership Challenge”, to my blog. In this special guest piece, Jim and Barry discuss the 3rd leadership principle from the book, “Earn Credibility”, by sharing findings from several of their studies as to why credibility is so critical to our ability to effectively lead our employees and organization.

Jim and Barry, it is truly a pleasure and an honour to have you both sharing your research, knowledge, and insights with my readers. I’m grateful to you both for being so supportive and encouraging of my writings on leadership over these past couple of years. You inspire me to recognize that this book is just the beginning, and that there’s not only another book waiting for me to write, but that there’s more that I can share and give back to the leadership community to help leaders to “love ’em and lead ’em”.

* * * * *

“I did not readily admit to my friends where I worked,” Lisa Kelley (not her real name) told us. “I just used to say, ‘A big company.’” The reason, she said, “predominantly had to do with the fact that I did not believe that our leaders were acting with the integrity and honesty that I hold so dear to my heart. I did not feel management set the kind of example that I wanted to abide by.”

Lisa’s sentiment is one that we hear time and time again. People want to believe in their leaders and in the organizations in which they work. When they don’t, they are unlikely to want to follow or do their best work.

For over thirty years we’ve been asking people to tell us what they look for and admire in a leader, someone whose direction they would willingly follow (the key word here is willingly.) The results of our studies over these three decades have been strikingly consistent around the world, and across categories of age, gender, ethnicity, functional discipline, and organizational level.

People are exceedingly clear about the qualities they expect leaders to demonstrate before they will enlist in a common cause and freely commit to action.

What are these crucial attributes? According to our research, people most want their leaders to be honest, forward-looking, competent, and inspiring. These four characteristics rank well above any others, and they are the only four that have been selected consistently by over sixty percent of respondents. Click here to continue reading »”Credibility Is the Foundation Of Leadership”

Leadership Biz Cafe Podcast #13 – Doug Lipp On How Disney Creates A Thriving Workforce

Doug Lipp - Leadership Biz Cafe

How does a storied organization like Disney create an engaged, empowered workforce despite the current economic challenges, and what can other organizations learn from their experience? That’s the basis of my conversation with international keynote speaker and former Disney executive Doug Lipp in this latest episode of “Leadership Biz Cafe”.

Doug began his career at Disney as one of the trainers at the Disney University at Disneyland. This lead to Doug joining the Walt Disney Imagineering team where he not only helped with the creation of Tokyo Disneyland, but also with the creation of the first international version of the Disney University.

Doug then went on to lead the training team at the corporate headquarters of The Walt Disney Company, The Walt Disney Studios.

Following his time at Disney, Doug co-developed with Stanford University professor C. Clarke the Interculture Relations Institute, where he taught diverse teams of professionals how to better navigate the intercultural waters of the global market.

In addition to his work as a keynote speaker and consultant on leadership, culture, and change, Doug is the author of eight books, including his most recent, “Disney U – How Disney University Develops the World’s Most Engaged, Loyal, and Customer-Centric Employees”.

Over the course of our conversation, Doug shared many wonderful stories about Walt Disney and Van France, the founder of the Disney University, as well as some of his many insights from his time at Disney, including: Click here to continue reading »”Leadership Biz Cafe Podcast #13 – Doug Lipp On How Disney Creates A Thriving Workforce”