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Your business strategy as a story: a romance, a thriller or a bedtime tale?

Why communicating a strategy should never be a one-off

What makes ”a story”? You could say a story is a report of connected events, real or imaginary. Companies tell their own real or imaginary stories about why we should work for them, why their shares make a good investment, or why their services are worth buying.

You could also say a company’s strategy is a story. This strategy story tells where the company is, where it wants to go, and how it plans to get there. Strategies are typically constructed once every two or three years – and they are always accompanied by a new story.

But why make up a new strategy story every time? Why not keep telling the story as it keeps unfolding, as a never-ending story?

Clichés lead to Zzz’s

A strategy process leads and controls the ongoing narrative about a company’s customers, future plans, and desired success. Communicating this strategy as a never-ending story is easier because as it gets told and re-told, it always improves.

And who says strategy stories have to be dry and tedious? As storytellers, businesses have every classic storytelling style available to them, from epic drama to thriller, or from comedy to romance. ”We love our customers and employees and we battle to make their everyday better!”

The only genre you should avoid is bedtime stories. They are sweet per se – but their purpose is to make the listener sink into sleep. Business bedtime stories can be spotted by their clichés and jargon: everything and everyone is so agile, customer experience is always key, and profitable growth is promised to all.

Keep it real!

So, make sure your business strategy stories are sufficiently grounded in reality. Fairy-tales won’t do, and wishful thinking doesn’t go far. If the development of insufficient business capabilities is not acknowledged, absolutely no one will live happily ever after.

Your business is the hero and your strategy is the hero’s story. Just start telling it, keep it real, and don’t let it end!

Your business is the stage, your strategy the story with all the characters and actors. Just start telling it, keep it real, and don’t let it end!


About the author

Menno Huijben is a Senior Executive at Sofigate and a concept owner of Business Technology Transformations and Data Leadership.

Menno is interested in the realm of decision-making in business, especially where a data-driven mindset meets intuition and experience. His motto is ”Don’t forget the Human Factor!”