I recently read an article in HBR about how storytelling is a great way to explain a business’s purpose. I couldn’t agree more. 

To me, purpose is about understanding and aligning a business’s values (who you are and what you stand for) and value (what you do and how it benefits others).

To activate purpose, you need to set a narrative. As with any good story, you need a beginning, middle and end. 

1. Beginning 

You need to tell a personal narrative, focusing on real events in the founder’s life and explaining how these incidents established the personal values that will later link to the values of the organisation. 

2. Middle 

You then need to connect these values with broader shared values of the audience, clients and employees. You can aim to do this through sharing values, experiences, hopes and aspirations. By doing so, you can create a common narrative. 

3. End 

Once a connection has been established, you then need an urgent call to action for those who want to share the business’s purpose.

A great example of activating purpose can be seen with Kickstarter. They use storytelling as an impactful way of asking people to join their team. Their narrative begins with the founder telling the story of the company. Their website then includes pictures and short descriptions of each company employee. Finally, the narrative finishes with a call to action, asking the reader “Love Kickstarter? You’ll fit right in.”

Although the process of storytelling can seem daunting, it’s a powerful tool that builds passion, motivation and buy-in for the stakeholders of any organisation.  

Image: FlickrCC/BY/2.0 Jim Penucci