You may or may not know that I’m a sucker for statistics. I love a good spreadsheet and am easily wowed by fun facts and compelling data. Even as a young girl, my favorite “toy” was all about the numbers: an old (yet priceless in my mind) 10-key printing calculator that I used to play office.
Unfortunately, statistics alone are quickly forgotten and rarely compel one to action; however, when wrapped in story, it’s a different ballgame. In a research study at Stanford, students were asked to give one-minute speeches that contained three statistics and one story. Only 5% of the listeners remembered a single statistic, while 63% remembered the stories. Similar research studies reveal that our brains light up differently in response to stories than facts and data—stories spark emotion, build human connection, and motivate us to take action.
While the work I design and deliver will always be data-informed, the real reason I do what I do is to influence the stories of the people I serve. I want them to experience work differently—to feel more capable, confident, and connected at work. I want organizations to shift their stories too—to find success because they value and invest in their employees and, in response, their employees value and invest in the organization.
With all this in mind, I recently redesigned my website: www.abbeylouie.com. I hope it sparks a deeper commitment to strengthening the heartbeat of your organization: your people. On the site, you’ll find some interesting statistics (I just can’t resist), but most importantly, you’ll hear stories. Honest stories of growth and transformation—stories that hopefully inspire you to grow in your leadership and invest in your team.
As we continue to navigate uncertain and challenging times, I encourage you to lead through story. Sharing the human experience builds trust. Allow your employees and colleagues to connect with you through vulnerable stories of joy, hope, pain, fear, frustration, and everything in between. By all means, continue to pursue facts and logic, but wrap them in story if you want to bring them to life and inspire change for the better.
P.S. Huge thanks to Bryan Rupp for skillfully capturing these stories and sharing them through video.
P.P.S. If you’re intrigued by the power of story and want to grow your natural storytelling abilities, Nancy Buffington is your gal. She’s the best of the best.
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