Storytelling in Business: The Authentic and Fluent Organization (Hardcover)
Storytelling can be a lifelong and life sustaining habit of mind, a personal inheritance that connects us to our communities. It can also serve as an organizational inheritance-a management tool that helps businesses to develop and thrive. For more than a decade, award-winning author Janis Forman has been helping executives to tell stories in service of their organizational objectives. In Storytelling in Business: The Authentic and Fluent Organization, she teaches readers everywhere how the craft of storytelling can help them to achieve their professional goals.
Focusing on the role of storytelling at the enterprise level, this book provides a research-driven framework for engaging in organizational storytelling. Forman presents original cases from Chevron, FedEx, Phillips, and Schering-Plough. Organizations like those featured in the book can make use of storytelling for good purposes, such as making sense of their strategy, communicating it, and developing or strengthening culture and brand. These uses of storytelling generate positive consequences that can have a sustained and significant impact on an organization. While large firms employ teams of digital and communication professionals, there's much that any of us can extrapolate from their experience to create stories to further our own objectives.
To show the reach of storytelling, Forman conducted 140 interviews with professionals ranging from CEOs in small and thriving firms, to corporate communication and digital media experts, to filmmakers-arguably the world experts in visual storytelling. She draws out specific lessons learned, and shows how to employ the road-tested strategies demonstrated by these leaders. Although this book focuses on storytelling in the context of business, Forman takes inspiration from narratives in literature and film, philosophical and social thought, and relevant concepts from a variety of other disciplines to instruct the reader on how to develop truly authentic and meaningful tales to drive success. A final chapter brings readers back to square one: the development of their own "signature story."
This book is a pioneering work that guides us beyond the pressure and noise of daily organizational life to influence people in a sustained, powerful way. It teaches us to be fluent storytellers who succeed by mastering this vital skill.
"In Storytelling in Business, Janis Forman shows how successful leaders leverage their ability to tell authentic, compelling stories. For scholars, this book offers intriguing applications of humanities concepts to important business phenomena. For business practitioners, this book offers thought-provoking lessons about how to inspire and motivate others through ethical storytelling."—Daphne A. Jameson, Cornell University
"Forman has produced a long-overdue and absolutely convincing account of the importance of narrative in directing, inspiring, and shaping organizations. There is a way to use storytelling to great advantage in any organization, and Forman's book will show you how."—Kathy Rentz, University of Cincinnati
"Many people in business understand that storytelling has the power to shape an organization's mission, engage employees, motivate customers, and influence public and shareholder perceptions. However, few people have the strategic and creative skills to develop their best stories and use them in the most compelling way. More than just a 'how to' book, Storytelling in Business provides a framework for understanding the purposes and elements of organizational storytelling. This book challenges us all to develop fluency in storytelling and guides us through the process of building a storytelling habit of mind."—Barbara Shwom, Northwestern University and coauthor of Business Communication: Polishing Your Professional Presence