How to tell your strategy story

Yolande Coombes Psychologist, Coach & Facilitator

The Harvard Business Review recently published an article titled “Your Strategy Needs a Story” highlighting that strategy should not just be a set of analytical and logical choices.

The article suggests that storytelling can help leaders to create a compelling narrative that communicates vision, values, and goals and inspires people to work together towards a common purpose. By crafting a story that resonates, leaders can create a sense of connection and belonging, improving engagement, motivation, and staying on track.  When we pull together towards a common goal, together we can, when we cannot or will not connect to the consensus narrative, we fall apart.




Remember, you’ll be more successful if you get — and keep — everyone working toward the same goal.

One of the critical benefits of storytelling in strategy development is that it can help leaders to simplify complex ideas and make them more accessible. By using vivid and memorable stories, leaders can simplify complicated concepts and make them easier to understand and remember. This can be especially important when introducing new organisational initiatives or changes. It can help people see the big picture and understand why the changes are necessary.

Another benefit of storytelling is that it can help leaders to create a sense of urgency and momentum around their strategy. Creating a story that captures hearts and minds inspires action. Leaders can motivate others to work towards a common goal and build momentum towards achieving that goal.

The HBR article also highlights the importance of authenticity and transparency in storytelling. Leaders need to be genuine and authentic in their storytelling, sharing the successes and challenges that are being faced and the lessons learned along the way. By doing this, leaders can build trust and credibility with all stakeholders and create a sense of shared ownership and responsibility for success. But to do that, it’s vital that everyone is telling the same strategy story. 


Strategy Narrative & Core Story

So, what are the steps to develop one strategy narrative and core story? This is how we do it:

  1. Find out, through a process of discovery, how stakeholders currently understand the strategy. What gaps do they have? Does it resonate?
  2. Find out what the anti-stories are – the misunderstandings, myths, and beliefs that are perpetuated. 
  3. Capture what matters to your teams in their hearts and minds through workshops that establish their purpose, ambition, behaviours and motivators.
  4. Craft a strategy narrative and a more engaging core story with which everyone connects.
  5. Establish connecting stories from across the organisation, highlighting the emotional impact your strategy will have on all the different stakeholders.

Storytelling is a powerful tool for strategy development. By creating a single compelling narrative that connects with stakeholders emotionally, leaders can improve employee engagement, motivation, and retention, simplify complex ideas, develop a sense of urgency and momentum, and build trust and credibility.


Contact us to see how your organisation can use story to connect people to strategy in a way that drives ownership.

The Core Story are innovators in the transformation of business performance enabling leaders to engage hearts and minds and bring strategy to life for everybody, everyday. We are an imaginative force transforming leadership. Specialising in human centred leadership and strategy, we partner with clients to establish their strategy story and bring it alive throughout the organisation.

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