The leadership ability to defy the normal when the normal is wrong.
I define Narrative Power as "the leadership ability to defy the normal when the normal is wrong."
Each of us, entrepreneurs, aims to create change in some form. Whether it's reshaping our community, challenging the norms of our industry, serving our clients in ways that haven't been explored, or simply redefining our personal path, our businesses become the vehicles for these transformative journeys.
In this context, Narrative Power can be subtle, a mere whisper in your mind, a sense that something isn't right. Or it can be bold and overt, like a public declaration of your intention to change, followed by decisive action.
This power, whether a quiet intuition or bold action, fuels change, setting entrepreneurs, their teams, and markets on a mission. And as I wrote before, when you position your business as a business on a mission, you operate from a higher degree of confidence because a higher purpose drives you.
The Strategic Narrative Canvas
The Strategic Narrative Canvas is a visual representation of the system of stories, practices, and norms you can build to mobilize people to take action inside and outside your company.
Use it to develop new ways to build narrative power and document existing ones.
visionary leadership (noun)
[vi-zhə-ˌner-ē - ˈlē-dər-ˌship]
: to forge your mindset and habits for turning possibilities into realities
Practice 1 - Inner Narrative Reframing
The practice of reshaping the internal dialogue or stories you tell yourself so you develop a more positive and empowering mindset to achieve your leadership goals and vision. Use your inner narrative to empower yourself, develop self-compassion and maintain resilience in the face of adversity.
Practice 2 - Evolutionary Purpose
Letting your purpose emerge by embracing change, fostering a growth mindset, and being open to continuous learning and adaptation. Your sense of purpose evolves by allowing your organization to continuously adapt and innovate in response to its changing environment, fostering long-term success and sustainability.
Practice 3 - Healthy Productivity
The practice of achieving your business vision, not by working more, but by applying your time and energy toward creative, original, and valuable work. Healthy productivity starts by prioritizing while resisting the urge to put out every fire and grounding yourself so that your work expresses your intentions and inner truth—not fear, anxiety, and reactivity.
meaningful marketing (noun)
: to help your business find its true relevance in the world
Practice 4: Strategic Positioning
The process of aligning your unique value proposition with your ideal market. Strategic positioning increases narrative power by differentiating your firm from others, highlighting its unique beliefs, and aligning them with your ideal clients.
Practice 5: Holistic Business Vision
The practice of exploring and frequently communicating how you view the ideal future, not just for your business but also for your environment (community, market, or the whole world). Your holistic business vision helps you mobilize ideal clients, partners, recruits, and investors like a movement enrolls participants.
Practice 6: Meaningful Publication
The process of creating and sharing material that deeply resonates with your audience while also helping you explore, clarify, and articulate your thoughts and narrative. This approach emphasizes genuine self-expression, personal growth, and connection with your audience.
Purposeful operations (noun)
: to plan and manage your business according to a singular moral compass
Practice 7: Purposeful Teaming
The deliberate process of forming, managing, and maintaining a team aligned with your perspective and focused on achieving your vision. This alignment creates a consistent narrative within the organization, empowering everyone to advocate for the company's vision and goals.
Practice 8: Perspective Development
The exploration, diffusion, and utilization of a signature argument that you make in service of your audience’s best interest. An innovative perspective builds up narrative power by challenging existing beliefs, inspiring change, building credibility, leading by example, and creating a platform for dialogue. All purposeful differentiators stem from your perspective.
Practice 9: Agile Business Planning
The practice of planning your business with an emphasis on flexibility, adaptability, and continuous learning, thus letting you adjust and improve your business as you face new information and challenges. Recognizing and responding to uncertainty as a natural part of your business helps you build a narrative in constant alignment with your perspective and vision.
authentic selling (noun)
: to align your help and ideal clients with true benevolence, not forceful persuasion
Practice 10: Authentic Outreach
The genuine and personalized act of connecting with your current and potential clients, treating them like they are your friends, but doing it at scale. Humanizing your outreach creates an emotional connection with your audience, enabling them to relate to and support your narrative.
Practice 11: Intentional Offering Design
The process of designing, organizing, and delivering professional products and services with a deliberate purpose or goal in mind. This approach underlines the importance of tailoring an offering that meets the unique needs of clients while aligning it with your evolutionary purpose, business vision, and unique perspective.
Practice 12: Selling Expertise
The practice of behaving like an expert rather than a traditional salesperson or vendor. Experts build narrative power by leading the sales process as a change process, focusing on trust, credibility, detachment, and staying away from convincing buyers.