In this ProductTank Wellington talk, Chief Digital Officer at BCITO, Peter Fletcher-Dobson, shares his journey with storytelling and how product managers can use it to create impactful change. Something he believes is the most powerful evolutionary development and humankind and a currency for product leaders.
Watch the video to see his talk in full, or read on for an overview of his key points:
- Introducing storytelling into product management
- The power of stories
- A smart model for business
- The hidden power of narrative
Introducing storytelling into product management
Peter begins by recanting his journey in storytelling as he transitioned from being a journalist to becoming a technologist, where he found the importance of telling good stories. However, not every story has a positive impact.
As a product leader, your mission is to create the best possible product by finding customer problems to solve and validate. From there, you can create a product vision, a team to build that product, and customers to find and purchase that product.
You might also like Hooked! Connect, engage and inspire with storytelling
Power of stories
People will forget what you said and did, but they will never forget how you made them feel. Stories allow you to achieve your mission as a product manager by inspiring those around you.
Humans are wired for stories through the chemicals in their brain, and the right story can trigger endorphins such as dopamine, oxytocin, cortisol and adrenaline.
A smart model for business
Peter provides a five-step process that turns strategy into a story that can be relayed back to your stakeholders or your team:
- Reflection: Where we are today
- Ambition: The tomorrow we could have
- Jeopardy: The challenge we must overcome – the need for action/change
- Hope: The insight that gives us a way through
- Solution: The idea
You can also check out Effective Storytelling to Motivate and Align Your Team
The hidden power of narrative
Many people confuse narrative and stories. However, the narrative is the glue that connects stories. There are four key structural elements to doing narrative:
- It must be authentic, meaning that it should be truthful, credible, and provide vulnerability.
- It must be relatable, meaning that there is a shared purpose, joint outcome, and something aspirational.
- There should be a call to action. That can be mental, emotional, physical, or economic
- There should be a counterpoint with opposing voices, resistance, and contrast.
The key takeaways are that you need to identify what the narrative is and who you are trying to influence as a product manager. Then you need to ask, what makes it authentic and relatable? What is the call to action? Who are the initiators? Who are the respondents? And what stories could you create to amplify or counter the narrative?
Keen for even more on storytelling? Try Metaphor and Stories in Product Management
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