Choose Your Own Transformation Adventure
May 15, 2019
May 15, 2019
Gaining executive buy-in for new initiatives can be difficult but leveraging the power of good storytelling can help. Think about it: if you can sell the story of your idea to key decision makers – a story that focuses on what matters to them – then you’re more likely to succeed at building momentum. If you can’t tell a good story, no one will listen – good idea or not.

Our “Transformation Adventure,” part of Philly Tech Week, aimed to provide attendees with the tools and experience to initiate change and sell ideas within their own organizations by leveraging the power of storytelling. We were joined by a diverse group of people from organizations around the Philadelphia region, with a range of disciplines and interests.

Like any good adventure, the session was interactive, fast-paced, and fun! In typical Navigate fashion, we didn’t want to waste any time sharing facts, figures, or case studies. We wanted participants to get involved and learn by doing, so we jumped right in and got to work.

The Navigate team created three example scenarios that attendees could choose to work on in small groups. Each scenario featured a fantasy company from a different industry – financial services, healthcare, or higher education – and each company was facing the same problem: the CEO wanted the company to be less risk averse and more customer-centric. We provided the groups with a company snapshot, which included personas for three key executives (the CEO, CIO, and CFO) to help inform their stories and provide context. Navigate team members facilitated the event, helping the groups work through their ideas and execute Design Thinking activities to ultimately craft a compelling story relevant to the CEO’s mandate, the company, and the specific executives.

They began by individually ideating through quiet-storming. Then they came together with their group members to openly share, discuss, and build upon their ideas. The teams each selected one idea to pursue – something risky but that they believed they could successfully pitch to executives. Next, they began to storyboard that idea, highlighting milestones, describing the value, and outlining key investments.

Attendees were challenged to prioritize empathy, considering how to frame and discuss their ideas in terms of the executives’ priorities. For example, each story had to capture how their idea would impact the company:

– Would it be incorporated into something the company already does?
– Would it be adding something new?
– Would it be removing something?
– Would it decrease or dial back something already in existence?

As the session drew to a close, the groups presented their stories. It was exciting to see the ideas they selected and how they communicated them, showcasing the power of storytelling. As one attendee said, “I started thinking about my boss differently. It helped me realize he is risk averse and that I have not been mindful enough of his concerns and mindset.” The next time you’re tasked to sell an idea, consider framing your idea as a story specifically for your audience. Need help? Let us know!

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