Shared stories unite business leaders, employees, and customers. The most powerful stories convey what people care most about, draw us in, and make us care too. They can even make us feel like family.

Every business has stories. Stories with the potential to improve quality, efficiency, and effectiveness—to inspire greatness. When broadly shared, these stories make customers, employees, and leaders proud. They make us part of something larger than ourselves, something extraordinary.

Ask anyone to tell you about a time when they felt proud at work and the story will never be about the company hitting a “transacting unit” target (or any other performance metric). Don’t get me wrong. Performance metrics are important. Performance metrics provide feedback on our past actions and inform future actions. But performance metrics DO NOT inspire greatness. To inspire greatness we need stories.

Stories like the Southwest Airlines pilot who held a flight so a father could be there for his daughter when her three-year old son was taken off life support, or how a manager of a Domino’s saved a life by sending someone to check on a regular when they hadn’t seen him in a while, or even the one about the owner of a brand new dental office who sold her car to make payroll so that her first few employees could pay their rent. 

Every great business is built on stories about people helping people. Stories that showcase our true values; the values that shape our culture. Stories that inspire us to reach higher, do more, and be more—to reach for greatness

What are your stories?

Feature photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash