It's often challenging to find a way to connect others to what you see. Often they don't relate to your vision or believe it will work. Telling a story can help you get everyone on board.
At his 2006 annual meeting, our client, Keith Tomlinson, Division President of Pulte Homes of MN, wanted his employees to embrace simplicity in product and process as the right strategy for the company. To help him make this point, he told a story about the growth of two automotive companies: Toyota and GM.
Engaging the audience early on, Keith showed a picture of a 1964 Chevrolet and asked "Who has seen one of these?" He quickly created a connection with the group by sharing his memory of traveling in the family GM station wagon as a kid.
He then bridged to his main point by telling the story of how GM has changed today from what it was in 1964 and by comparing GM to Toyota, a competitor who continues to grow while GM loses market share.
Keith's most memorable point was the comparison of brands and revenue. "GM has eight brands today which generated $4.4 million in revenue in 2005 while Toyota has only 2 brands generating $2.3 million." As Keith pointed out, GM is spread thin and carrying a lot of cost for those brands, while Toyota is focused and efficient.
"Just like Toyota," said Keith, "our model is simplicity in product, process and options." Telling this story gave life to his vision and set the stage for Keith to lead his group through their company plans.