Humans love storytelling. We can’t help ourselves! Half the time we don’t even realize we’re doing it.
Sometimes we tell kind stories. Stories with good intentions, best efforts, sympathetic characters. When you give somebody the benefit of the doubt, you’re telling yourself a kind story about that person.
Other times our stories aren’t so generous. Characters with conniving, manipulative motives undercutting others for their own gain.
No matter what, people are going to spin together stories to understand their world. We take a set of individual points and begin drawing lines through them, forming whatever story arc makes the most sense. Sometimes we shift the arc of the story as we get more information. Other times we discard information that doesn’t match the story we’ve already begun telling ourselves.
A huge part of internal corporate communication is spelling out the story you want to be told. You need to take your team on the journey you went on to reach the end of the story. At the very least, give them enough information to get the basic arc of it. You’ve got to connect the points together. You can’t assume everybody will look at a sky full of data points and create the same constellations that you did.
So be proactive with it! Don’t just drop a dry, corporate communication on people and think that’s going to fly. And especially don’t do that if you’re communicating any kind of a change that will impact your employees in any kind of a substantial way. Take the time to figure out what your story is, and how to bring your team along with you for it.
Because if you don’t? People will begin telling their own stories, and they may not be generous.