Every organization, team, and individual has a need to feel like they understand why their work is important. In the rapid change and pace of today's world, it can be difficult to stay connected to the purpose of the work. This can leave us feeling disconnected, frustrated, and even lost. What we want is to feel connected to our work and know that it has value.
This is where story comes in.
Story is a powerful tool for delivering why our work is important.
We've all been exposed to story. This is not something new. But, understanding the components, and how we can leverage the power of story to deliver the "why" requires a deeper look.
If we examine the Greek word for story, Mythos, it is defined as "relevant to or having a significant truth or meaning for a particular culture, religion, society, or other group." By this definition, story is the way in which we deliver and relay the meaning and truth about our organization, our team, or who we are. Story is central to communicating values and to creating culture within your work place. And the best part is that anyone can do it! We all know what story is and we all know how to speak in story.
So, what are the basic components? It's simple really - every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Understanding the function of each is critical to generating a complete and compelling story. The beginning functions as the current situation - where we are right now. The end of the story is the situation we want to be in. The middle of the story is where the action takes place - how we get from the current situation to the situation we want to be in.
A simple reframing of the story components show us how to deliver the "why;" change the beginning of the story to need, and the end of the story to vision. In this case, our current situation (the beginning) is the need, and the end of the story (what we want) is the vision. By making the switch, the need and vision outline why the work is important - it demonstrates the purpose of the action in the middle. By using story to generate your purpose, you can also communicate that effectively through story structure, delivering the "why" clearly and connecting our organizations, teams, and ourselves to the meaning of our work.
Through the use of story and understanding how to apply it to our organizations, teams, and our own work, we can create a work environment that is connected to purpose and we can effectively communicate that purpose with those around us.