“Tell your Uber story!” That has become one of the rally cries I hear whenever I gather with a group of people who know me well. And I have to admit that it never gets old, and like most good tales, it gets better with age. My Uber story maybe wouldn’t be appropriate to tell during a keynote address…and it should never be consumed on a full bladder. It’s a phenomenal story because it’s true, and because it is classic “Jenny.” If you’d never met me, upon hearing my Uber story you would know enough about me to determine whether or not we could be friends.
My Uber story is just one of many colorful narratives in the story bank of our expressive family. I love hearing our kids retell family lore to Cudahy “newcomers” and I’m proud that our stories are known, and retold, because it means that future generations will understand the history and character – the good, the bad, and the ugly – of their heritage.
Every family and every organization has a story bank. It’s a collection of comedies and tragedies, of highs and lows, that animates the past and speaks to the future. But your best stories, the ones that can be most effective in strengthening your brand likely are the stories that, for one reason or another, you never tell. If you have ever endured participated in a new-employee orientation, you know that you learn nothing about the culture of the business from the 700 pages of the employee handbook. You begin learning about the business in one-on-one conversations, around the coffee maker, over lunch. This is where the real stories about the business comes out and while many of them can’t be told in an official business setting, many of them can.
Peg Neuhauser, author of Corporate Legends and Lore, calls those stories your “Sacred Bundle.” Neuhauser describes how Native American tribal elders carried an actual “bundle” of items with them that represented their collective history as they moved from site to site. Every rock, feather, or grain of wheat held special significance. Over time, everyone from the tribe learned to tell the stories from their sacred bundle, and in so doing, preserved the past and shared the character and heritage of their tribe.
Jim and I can help you identify the stories that make up your organization’s “sacred bundle.” You already possess stories of great wins, victories that changed clients’ lives or altered your company’s direction. These stories might also include crushing defeats that taught you valuable lessons. You know how employees have struggled and overcome hurdles, demonstrating the tenacity and resilience that defines your organization. You have tales of innovative problem solving, and creativity that demonstrates your commitment to excellence. You probably have your own “Uber” story that makes people crowd into tiny rooms to hear the story told and re-told.
We will help capture the story of how you began, and where you are going. We will help you identify who can best tell your stories, and we will help you find opportunities to practice and repeat them again and again so you can clearly reflect your company’s culture, values, and capabilities. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll tell my Uber story. We can’t wait to get started.