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Buzzwords, Belonging, and Future Hues

November 5, 2021 Misti Aaronson

Storytelling: A Buzzword or Critical Skill?

storytelling buzzkill

The business world is no stranger to buzzwords. Storytelling has been an on-and-off buzzword since the dawn of the advertising world, sometimes landing in the pile of other retired buzzwords like synergy or pivot or being a must-have skill everyone could use more of.

If storytelling is in your RIP buzzword pile, it might be time to resurrect it and find ways to use it in all areas of your business. We often think storytelling is a skill needed when trying to convince or persuade - but it’s more than that. We tell stories to authentically communicate who we are. We use stories to deepen connections - personally and professionally.

  • Hiring Managers use stories, especially in this tight talent market, to inspire top candidates to accept a job offer.
  • Entrepreneurs bring their work and dreams to life through stories to recruit employees, acquire clients, and find investors to take part in the adventure.
  • Sales leaders and salespeople use stories to educate and communicate value to their prospects and clients.
  • Employees share their stories as a way of connecting past experiences to current on-job conversations.
  • Job seekers can quickly become top candidates with effective storytelling.
  • Leaders share stories to inspire, connect, and communicate with their team on a more meaningful level.

    As our Head of Product, Robert Rome explains the difference between a story and a great story and it went something like this:
  • All stories have some sort of change in them - where the end is different from the beginning.
  • In a great story, people are changed as a result of the events, in other words, they are shaped by external events.

    Robert picture

    Want more? Pixar has an interesting take in their 22 rules of storytelling


Belonging - a Human Need

belonging image 2

Social belonging is a fundamental human need, hardwired into our DNA.

A study from 2019 reported that 40% of people feel isolated at work and in 2020 NASEM published a report that one-third of adults 45 and older are lonely. Most of the data published is pre-pandemic, which means these numbers are likely much higher.

Check out the US Loneliness Statistics and Data report for great information on the topic. In sum, it states that loneliness has gone up during the pandemic with 24-39 year old's being the loneliest, males feeling always or often lonely compared to females, and one-third of adults feeling a general sense of emptiness at work.

Not only does a lack of belonging, loneliness, and isolation create disengagement and lower performance at work, it has severe health risks associated - the  CDC website lists the side effects which are grim such as increased risks of premature death, dementia, heart disease, and strokes as well as higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide.

The bad news - creating a culture with a sense of belonging isn’t a check-the-box exercise.

The good news - work can be a great lever for belonging - as one-third of those surveyed in EY’s Belonging Barometer in 2019 felt their greatest sense of belonging at work.

If work can help heal loneliness and fill up our sense-of-belonging-cup as individuals, how can we create more belonging at work? BetterUp has an interesting take that although companies prioritize DE&I, many fall short of promoting belonging and/or don’t understand how vital it is.

Better up image

Fast Company recently penned this article that recommends gratitude for our diverse differences as the bridge to belonging. It says to create belonging within your community: give gratitude often, share your superpower, and create allyship.

Want more?

Check out the Inevitable Future of Work podcast with Jeff Lesher interviewing Jorge Quezada, Chief Inclusionist for Granite Construction on the art and science of creating inclusive diversity.

Give Kellogg a high-five for its most recent DE&I move of offering staff fertility, menopause, and miscarriage leave.

DE&I surveys are a hot thing right now. Below are our three favorite questions from our DE&I survey:

  • At our company, I can voice an opposing view or argument without fear or consequences.
  • When I speak up, my opinion is valued.
  • I feel I can express myself in an authentic manner

    If you’d like more of our DE&I questions, shoot me a message!

The Future Has Many Hues

Future Hues

If you surveyed Americans throughout the day about their certainty or confidence in the future, you’d get a very large range of answers and answers that might drastically change hour to hour.

The way the future looks depends on how you look at it.
And depending on the day, time of day, where you are, how you feel - there may be many hues.

Here are a few futuristic articles that caught our eye in the last few weeks:

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TOPICS: Workplace Innovation, leadership, stories that shift