The Art of Strengths Coaching

S is for Success Stories

Slides S is for Success Stories.001

Imagine you lead an organisation. A key element will be to build and maintain a positive culture in which people know ‘what good looks like’.

How to make this happen? One approach is to highlight when people in the organisation have done fine work. You can show:

The specific times when people have performed brilliantly.

The specific things people did right then – the principles they followed – to perform brilliantly.

The specific things people can do to follow these principles – plus maybe add other skills – to perform brilliantly in the future.

“But the old adage says that you learn more from your mistakes than from your successes,” somebody may say.

Certainly there are many lessons to gather from people doing the wrong thing, working in the wrong place or adopting the wrong strategy.

But that approach is based on the assumption that people already know the key principles for doing great work. This is not always the case.

Imagine you want to produce stories that provide positive models for others in your organisation. Here are some steps you can take to make this happen.

Clarify who will
be the mission holder

Appoint a mission holder who is accountable for ensuring the stories are collected, written and published. Do not leave it to a committee.

They do not have to do the writing. They can hire an internal or external writer to collect and produce the stories.

Clarify how many stories you want
and the timetable for publication

One company I worked with translated this approach into action by quickly producing six success stories. The material was already there. It was just a question of collecting it and producing the stories.

Clarify the framework
for producing the stories

Different people use different frameworks for sharing success stories and showing what good looks like. Below is one framework.

People start by choosing a title for the story. They then describe the specific situation they encountered. They could be helping a client, solving a problem, making internal processes work better or whatever. They describe the challenges they faced and the desired picture of success.

People move on to describing the key strategies they employed to tackle the issue. They describe the results that were delivered to achieve the picture of success. They then summarise what was learned from the experience. They describe:

The specific things that worked and how they can follow these principles more in the future.

The specific things they could do better next time and how.

The specific other things of interest that emerged.

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Communicate the success stories

Different organisations have different approaches to sharing the success stories. They may choose, for example:

To publish the stories on the organisation’s internal and external websites.

To publish the stories in the Induction Pack for new joiners and use these to show ‘what good looks like’.

To continually produce new stories that highlight how people have lived the organisation’s values and share these with everybody in the organisation.

Good leaders build and maintain a positive culture that enables people to deliver peak performance. One approach they take is to ‘reward the behaviour they want repeated’ by producing success stories.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific things you can do to produce and publicise success stories.

Describe the specific benefits of producing such success stories.

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