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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Who Tells Your Story?

As you consider telling your story or the story of your organization,
you have to consider the powerful words of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
There's a common phrase repeated on social media that states, "If you don't tell your story someone else will." I don't know who the first person was to make that statement, but I like it.

The question, "Who tells your story?," is an important question to consider. Also, other important questions are, "How do you share your story?" and "Who do you share your story with?"

Do people have to hunt for your story through numerous threads and links or is your story transparently shared for any interested individual to read, consider, and understand? I agree that there are parts of our stories that belong only to us, but when we consider our professional story or the stories of our organizations, I believe that almost all of the story profits from transparency and share as that kind of accessible, ongoing tale builds community and trust.

One way to tell an organization or individual's story is to start an online blog or newsletter and update that forum regularly. You may write it all yourself or invite guest writers to pen a column each day. Then you may invite everyone from your orgnaization to read and comment. At first, there's likely to be a flurry of response. Perhaps more than you think you can keep up with. But, as the transparency continues, you'll notice that the story is well known and there will be less response and more common share, work, language, and thinking.

I've often told the story of my husband's former boss, and now Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker. Each week at Harvard Pilgrim Health Organization he would pen a note of inspiration for the Harvard Pilgrim employees. I would often read his writing since it not only inspired my husband and his colleagues, but the weekly column encouraged and inspired my work and effort too.

That kind of regular share and transparency creates community and culture. And, this kind of work rids an organization of the need to dispel myths, prove thought, or untangle confusion since the story is explicitly and regularly shared. Sharing the story also makes more time for the important work of growing and fostering the ideas, efforts, and collaboration needed to develop an organization with strength and purpose.

Whether you're an individual or organization, it's important to share your story in an accessible, truthful, and thoughtful way. Don't you agree?