Many of you on this list have asked a question I would paraphrase like this: “What Does Building A Strategic Narrative Really Mean?”
Here is my full definition of a strategic narrative:
A strategic narrative is a system of stories that you build intentionally to mobilize people to participate in a new opportunity.
The first piece you build is a product: a system of stories.
There are essentially four of them meant to help you answer the four following questions.
- FIRST – In your journey, what opportunity did you see that others ignore? You will find the answer in reframing your Origin Story.
- SECOND – How do you inspire your community to reach for a more positive impact? For this, you need an Opportunity Story.
- THIRD – How do you challenge the common wisdom that everybody else accepts as truth, so you rally forces no one else can? This comes from your Perspective Story.
- FINALLY – How do you position your products and services so you make people confident about taking action? That’s a function of The Product Story.
The second piece is a modus operandi
Narratives are socially constructed. When you figure out the answers to the four questions listed above and align your team about those answers –the four stories– you equip everyone with a new way to operate.
That system of stories creates a set of guidelines in people’s minds. It helps them decide what to do, and it acts as heuristics when we have to think fast. It takes your company from confused and scattered to clear and focused. A strategic narrative normalizes many important activities such as collaborating, making decisions, engaging with your clients, hiring people, etc.
You know your strategic narrative is a new way you do business when you barely have to talk about it anymore. That’s when it became second nature, your culture.
But as I like to say, although your strategic narrative is always due, it’s never done.
Interpreting the world around us to make sense of it never stops. We constantly need to make decisions and take actions guided by the right narrative, informed by what is happening around us and what is deemed just.
Fortunately, since you’ve built your strategic narrative yourself but not alone once, it is a process that you are familiar with. So you can do it again and again. It is a life-long skill.
It is the way you intentionally mobilize people to participate in a new opportunity.
“We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims.”
R. Buckminster Fuller