Communication and story-telling is at the essence of building culture in an organization. Lessons from an ad-guru, mythologist, armed forces officer, motivational speaker and more about how one could think about narrating compelling stories.
What is common to radio, sonar and the internet? All these technological innovations, like many others, have their origin in war or conflict. Most have been researched and developed at military labs and then scaled up. Start-ups therefore, can benefit immensely from this experience. Hear Raghu talk about the need for a common vocabulary in order to achieve this. Hint: there is also a valuable tip about the ‘How’ question.
Become privy to one of the army’s most efficient framework approaches: the Z-KITBAG! Raghu elaborates on this acronym and talks about how this structured approach can be used in any scenario- whether you are preparing for a talk or mobilizing your team for a launch.
The chain of communication in an organization – from the CEO to the salesperson on the streets- is one of the main factors for its success or failure. What steps can a leader take to ensure this chain of communication is seamless? Listen as Raghu talks about this and also shares an interesting anecdote about why cheaper phones in India have dual SIM facility!
Prakash talks about the role of story-telling in the context of building culture and how one could think about building that muscle. Sometimes, people think that there is a trade-off between story-telling and brevity. He talks about that being a false trade-off and discusses how one could employ both to drive effective communication
Ravi’s career trajectory has often taken him to sectors and organizations he did not know much about. The key to his successful transitioning, according to him, has been listening; but listening to what and whom? Get the details and some tips in this anecdotal nugget.
KV Sridhar talks about the distinction between creativity and craftsmanship. He mentions that all living beings (not just human beings) including creatures like ants have the ability to be creative. But for us to express it effectively, we need to practice our craft – whether it is story writing, photography, humour or anything else. And mastering that takes years and years of practice.
Devdutt breaks down story-telling and shares his perspectives around how we could become story tellers. He mentions that story-telling is often about turning a hard fact into emotion through plots and characters. He also emphasizes the need for brevity in corporate story telling. He shares a secret around how he tests for conceptual understanding of a story. He asks the narrator to share a long story such as Mahabharata in 1 line. He mentions that you quickly know if the other person “gets it”.
Jay talks about how he has grown as a politician in all these years. He also talks about Track II dialogues where he is active. These are informal back-channels which can be tremendously helpful in improving the communication and improving one’s understanding of the others’ point of view.
Jay talks about some of the advice he has received that has helped him in his political career. This includes being cautious about taking people at face value and in watching what you say in a public domain. He also speaks at length about the importance of listening to the voter needs and not getting swayed just by the voices of the party workers.
Dasra was co-founded by Neera Nundy and Deval Sanghavi in 1999\. They discuss how they have evolved their roles as the organization has grown over time. She talks about how they have gravitated to playing roles that are in line with their sources of energy and strength.
Arun discusses his definition of a leader – “she or he who takes the first steps towards something that she or he deeply cares about and in ways that others wish to follow”. He talks about the criticality of listening to what other people care about as a key element of building engagement and followership.
Arun talks about insights from Dalai Lama (who also wrote the foreword for his book) who says that Listening is the first wisdom tool and it is a pre-requisite for reflection, compassion and self-knowledge. Arun discusses why it is important to create a space for the feedback to land on the other side and listening is the path to creating that space.
Ambi talks about what he has learnt from individuals like Late Pradipto Mahapatra, Late Mr Rohinton Aga and Mr M. Damodaran when it comes to storytelling. He draws the connection between storytelling and listening and discusses how it is not a skill-set that can be suddenly implanted into a team or an individual but has to be an integral part of the culture in an organization.
Bill Campbell was known to have a “salty language” filled with expletives. Alan provides nuance around how Bill used his directness to land tough messages. He also goes on to talk about the safety net that Bill would create around the difficult conversation so that the leader does not get over-whelmed with the feedback.
Bill speaks about how Amazon uses written word as a source of differentiation and a competitive advantage. He speaks about how meetings are run in Amazon and the impact on productivity and effectiveness when people submit written documents. He also speaks about the PR/FAQ process which, in a way, is the backbone of the Working Backwards culture at Amazon.
Sally speaks about the notion of Executive Presence and how that plays out for men and women. She alludes to a piece of research that suggests that women on average end up speaking 20,000 words a day while men end up speaking around 7000 words a day. She discusses the implication of this on how men and women could think about Executive Presence.
Dan speaks about the nuances in delivering feedback that could help people activate their best self. In organizations, feedback is often the key lever for development but very often, no formal attention is given to how people deliver the feedback. He also speaks about the role of gratitude as an emotion in galvanizing a group of people around you.
Dan speaks about how we could play to our potential by keeping the concept of death close to us. He also speaks about how we can unlock others’ potential by providing timely feedback to others without falling trap to the notion of eulogy delay.