In the past, it was often enough just to tell your staff what they had to do and they would do it. In modern workplaces, this approach is no longer acceptable or successful. 21st-century managers have to find better ways of influencing people rather than just telling them what to do.
One of the more compelling ways to help people see things differently is to tell stories. Almost everyone remembers something from the stories that their parents read them when they were children:
- Children are discouraged from sucking their thumbs for fear that they will suffer the same fate as Little Suck-A-Thumb whose thumbs were cut off by the Red-Legged Scissor Man
- And for those of us who grew up with the Adventures of Snugglepot & Cuddlepie, I still give the Banksias in my garden a second look.
On this page, you will find powerful stories that appeal to both the intellectual and emotional attachments that people have to their attitudes and behaviours.
Some are management fairy tales like the Pig & the Chicken. Some are apocryphal stories like the Three Envelopes and a Visit to the In-laws. And some are from my observations like the Shed, the Boxes and the Coffee Jars.
- The Importance of Being on Time – the Priest & the Politician
- Commitment – the Pig & the Chicken (coming)
- Persistence or Stupidity – the Tortoise & the Hare (coming)
- The Perils of Trying to Please Everyone – the Old Man, the Boy & the Donkey (coming)
- Recognising Success – the Fisherman & the Entrepreneur
- Sending Clear Messages – Dad, the Farm & the Ungrateful Kids (coming)
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecies – the Agronomist & the Farmers (coming)
- Sharing the Load – the Mouse, the Chicken, the Pig & the Cow (coming)
- Speaking up – a Visit to the In-laws (coming)
- The Three Envelopes – a Project Management parable (coming)
- Travelling Light – the Shed, the Boxes & the Coffee Jars (coming)
Please feel free to use these stories as they are or, like me, customise them so that they become more powerful for your audience. The provenance of some of these stories is ambiguous but where I can identify the original source I have done so.