Wharton Article on Leadership, Motivation and Storytelling

Take the time to read this short article from Wharton. It is well worth it. Following is an excerpt.

"Guber said he has learned that to lead and succeed, you need to manage three inevitable "states": fear, uncertainty and change. Everybody has fear, he says, "but does it catalyze you or paralyze you? You cannot afford in leadership today to be risk averse. You cannot. Otherwise you'll just be out of business." And even while embracing risk, he said, it is important to keep in mind that certainty is an illusion. "As soon as you're certain, you calcify all the thinking. Uncertainty is the cauldron in which creativity lives."

Anyone Can Do It

Uncertainty makes for a complicated business environment, but leaders can help employees embrace the goals mandated in that environment, Guber suggested, adding that the tool to do so is available to all. "Narrative bonds information to an emotional experience," he said. There is no need to be in the movie business to tell effective stories. Everyone is "a factory of old stories. So when you want your tribe, your group, your human resources people, your executives, your customers, your shareholders to do something, you have to remember you've already got something playing on the record machine in your head."

He doesn't suggest conjuring up random anecdotes. Rather, the goal should be to form narrative out of a situation at hand, and make others feel like characters in the drama. It's about giving others a story to imagine and tell others as they embark on a project.

Guber feels there's an element of magic in transforming people's thinking in such a manner, and he used MAGIC as an anagrammatic device to drive home his idea. MAGIC, he said, stands for Motivating your Audience to a Goal Interactively with great Content."

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