Stories are the programming language of culture.
The stories people share in an organization reinforce the underlying beliefs and assumptions that shape the culture. To shift culture, reprogram it with new stories.
There is power in stories as they inform, persuade and educate. Using the power of storytelling, you can tap into foundational beliefs that shape culture.
An example is the story that’s been told and retold about Nordstrom. Someone brought a set of tires to the customer service desk. Although Nordstrom does not sell and never has sold tires, the associate processed a refund.
Although that’s unlikely, the reinforcing power of the story is that it communicates the value of customer service. It’s far more effective to share that story than to say, “A Nordstrom core value is customer service.”
Benefits of stories
Stories reinforce beliefs that either support or undermine your culture change. We are guided by stories. We listen to stories, tell stories, share stories and, most important, behave in ways that support stories. Change your stories, and be changed by them.