The way we talk about ourselves can dramatically affect whether others invest in what we do, buy our product or service, join in our cause, or offer us the resource we need.
As steward leaders, we often find that stories are the most powerful ways to communicate what it means to be "us." Sometimes, stories are as simple as a sentence: "We help organizations and their leaders transform for a vibrant future," for instance. That sentence tells a story.
The emphasis makes the point: a slogan stating, "Founded in 1852," sounds a lot more moss-covered than "serving our community for seven generations." The first is a historical marker, the second, current action.
(Related: How does your organization fascinate others?)
Beyond the slogans, we encounter a variety of ways we can tell our story. How are we the main character in our own story? What is our goal? Who helps us along the way? Who are the opponents that keep us from reaching our goal? How does the conflict of opposition vs. goals get resolved? Who comes in to save the day?
Moreover, we might find that it best suits us to tell our story with one emphasis internally (to ourselves); and with another emphasis externally (to clients, partners, business leads, and so forth). When we do this, we must be clear as to which story we are telling to whom. Of course, if the two create dissonance with each other, that might show it's time to work that through.
What stories do we tell ourselves? How about others?