The Social CFO – Mastering the Art of Storytelling to Deliver Results
To earn the role of the Chief Trusted Advisor, the Social CFO needs to communicate with impact to build consensus, deliver innovation, and drive transformation. A critical tool that too few CFOs leverage to communicate with impact is storytelling.
The warning story plot is where you highlight the consequences of inaction and/or the consequences of taking a course of action that could result in less than ideal outcomes. This storytelling strategy may be more comfortable for most CFOs, as they have the reputation of being the person who needs to say no to marketing and sales leaders, and often play the “bad cop” to a CEO who wants to play “good cop.”
Five types of warning story plots are:
1. Neglect Reality: talk about the cost of disregarding red flags. When you use this storytelling plot, you set the stage to identify the cost (consequence) of doing business or usual and accepting the status quo.
2. Ignore the Prize: talk about the benefits of changing with the times. With this storytelling method, you are combating the “We’ve always done it this way” mentality. Set the stage with the advantages that come with change.
3. The Comeback: talk about the value of making a mistake and finding the way back to the right path. People relate to this type of storytelling because we all enjoy a good comeback story.
4. Lost the Way: talk about getting off the right track and rediscovering the path to success. Abandoning fundamental principles often puts companies at risk. I use this storytelling method when convincing people to “get back to the basics.”
5. Fall Forward: talk about lessons learned from a failure and how to value failure. I often use this storytelling plot, even with my kids. Life’s greatest lessons are often learned in failure.
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