I recently posted that Coke shifted half their marketing content research budget from qualitative research to iterations.
One of my friends responded: “So?”
Okay, fine. I went all geeky. I will try to redeem myself with an example of how that works.
Staff meetings are a great time to ask for stories. These stories enrich understanding, keep values alive, prompt dialogues to resolve conflicts before they become a problem, and provide a great resource for content. But some managers may want more structure before they try it.
Don’t need it.
Sharing stories in a group is a powerful “iterative” process that finds better and better stories faster than story templates. After asking for stories about any issue that involves emotion – integrity, patient care, time wasting tasks – I recommend you jump right in and start sharing stories even if more than half of your staff say “I don’t have a story.”
Because when you give a story you get a story. After those who do have a story go first, people find and tell their own stories. We only need enough stories to learn something useful. We don’t need to wait for those who don’t have a story to find one. We don’t need to spend time on another story finding exercise.
Stories multiply naturally and each story is a little experiment that improves the story finding process in some way..
We learn more about storytelling from iterations of listening, telling, listening, etc. than any template could teach us. “Just do it,” is the fastest way I know to overcome most barriers to storytelling. If you dont get any stories, this may tell you that a negative emotion like anxiety, fear, frustration or apathy is the real barrier. You could even ask for stories that reveal barriers to talking about the issue. Sharing stories offers a simultaneous reveal/reconcile magic that works in iterations so risk/rewards gradually pull people out of their comfort zones.
Awww, man. Now I realize how well the metaphor “playing it by ear” demonstrates the importance of listening and co-creation to any iterative process. I will just have to write about that later. Have a great week in the meantime. Podcast #2 comes out on Wednesday!