How Great Leaders Succeed in Uncertain Times: They Tell Stories

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Business news is largely focused on uncertainty caused by layoffs, the Presidential election, the threat of terrorism, and more layoffs. But the founders and CEOs of many top American companiesÂ?including Costco Wholesale, Medtronic, FedEx, Nike, and Mary Kay, Inc.Â?continue to drive success through storytelling.

While business news is focused on uncertainty caused by layoffs, the Presidential election, the threat of terrorism, and more layoffs, the founders and CEOs of many top American companies—including Costco Wholesale, Medtronic, FedEx, Nike, and Mary Kay, Inc.—continue to drive success through storytelling.

In a new book, Costco cofounder, President and CEO Jim Sinegal says, “All you can do is relate the successful experiences you’ve had within the company. What else have we got besides stories? That’s what really hits home with people; it’s what brings meaning to the work we do.”

Sinegal’s testament to the power of storytelling is among those related in a new book, Around the Corporate Campfire: How Great Leaders Use Stories to Inspire Success. Written by Evelyn Clark, a Seattle-area author, speaker and consultant, the book is a collection of stories about companies that use storytelling as a management tool. Their leaders tell stories that communicate values, celebrate heroes and keep everyone focused on the mission.

Because stories touch people’s hearts at a personal level, they inspire a level of commitment, teamwork, and customer service that most leaders can only hope for.

Medtronic Chairman and CEO Art Collins agree. Head of the world’s leading medical technology company, Collins says, “When I speak to employee groups—small or large—I relate concepts through personal experience, which bring them to life. Strangers frequently come up to me to relate their gratitude for our products, and I share those stories with employees because the real strength of Medtronic is not a few people at the top. It’s all 30,000 employees and their total commitment to the mission.”

The Container Store, 3M, and Northwestern Mutual are among the other companies featured in the book.

“The CEOs of these companies share corporate legends and everyday workplace stories with employees and other stakeholders to make the vision come alive and to illustrate how people can succeed,” Clark says. “Great leaders know that workers need more than lofty mission statements and industry buzzwords to understand and appreciate what their organization stands for and what’s expected of them. Workers need to hear about the company’s people, its values and its history.

“Studies show that up to 70 percent of workplace learning takes place through stories swapped around the coffee pot or in the lunch room,” the author says. “So smart leaders tell stories, which leave a legacy of experiences that inspire generations.”

Around the Corporate Campfire: How Great Leaders Use Stories To Inspire Success is available at Amazon.com and at http://www.corpstory.com. The price is $19.95, plus tax and shipping.

Note: Author and speaker Evelyn Clark, who created a buzz with two presentations based on her book at this year’s National Storytelling Conference, is available for interviews and will also develop guest articles or columns on request. Call 1(866) 818-8079.

More information is available at http://www.corpstory.com
For a press kit, go to http://www.corpstory.com/presskit/index.htm

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Evelyn Clark