Team stories are grounded in real-life situations. They involve real, live people (and more than a few pieces of machinery as well as a lot of data, algorithms and analytics thrown in for good measure).
Team storytelling is about when, where, how and why your team collaborated: with each other and with your customer’s team members.
Team stories talk about the business case for innovation that challenged your team. Each story provides the listener with a professional context to which they can relate. Each story is a human story as well, involving heroism beyond what your team thought possible.
When you focus on identifying the stories your team has created, team members come together at the table for a different purpose than going over their annual win-loss record. More is involved in this exercise than whether your team did, or did not, make their numbers this year and whether you met your KPIs (key performance indicators).
Team stories talk about Herculean team efforts to solve extraordinary customer problems. When, where, how and why did your team go the extra mile to make a deadline? When, where, how and why did your team color outside the process lines in order to create a new type of manufacturing material?
Team stories are about your team members, too. How did team members with different, and at times adversarial, perspectives collaborate to create a valuable business outcome? Why did one team member, or many, decide to learn new skills in order to help the team overcome a significant capabilities hurdle that was impeding your own business growth?
When you set time aside, each month, to tell your team stories, your team expands their respect for and appreciation of one another. Your team learns more about one another in terms of values, ethics, compassion, commitment and leadership. The very act of meeting together once a month to tell your team stories is the basis of trust and collaboration that gradually impacts everyone in your workplace.
Team members realize they can become “more than” what they were hired to do. Their mindset expands beyond the confines of their departmental silo or the specifics of their job function.
Team stories communicate what is possible. These stories motivate team members to assume risk, take responsibility and become innovators instead of order-takers.
Team stories are the building blocks of your team’s culture. In creating these stories, other teams in your organization start to tell your team’s stories – and these other teams will want to create their own.
Team stories are communicated to your customers throughout the year. These stories tell your customers about something bigger than business, manufacturing or IT (information technology) output. Customers begin to understand the “secret sauce” of why you and your team members choose to focus on excellence when creating valuable and enduring outcomes on their behalf.
Team stories bring humanity into the mechanics and data we either sell or work with each day. After all, our customers do business with us because we are, in fact, humans.
Team stories create a compelling reason to work with one another. Team stories create a compelling reason for customers to do business with us.
Babette N. Ten Haken builds innovative, productive and profitable teams focused on excellence in the execution of strategy. Her Playbook on collaboration hacks, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.