In The Elements of Persuasion we explain why, when Warren Buffet speaks, we listen. He’s said there are two types of people in the world, “…those who get in their own way and those who don’t.” As an executive coach I spend most of my time helping clients get out of their own way. The five-element story model is a powerful tool for this sort of change.
Jim is CEO of a mid sized tech company that has begun to flounder in the last year. Observing Jim in action I saw that what he was telling his team either confused them, or worse, bored them. Asking around, I realized Jim was on the verge of becoming irrelevant because market conditions had shifted. His corporate story was growing stale. To refresh it, I had Jim go to his direct reports and work with them to redefine the problems his company was facing in a way everyone could agree with. In five-element story terms I had him polish his Antagonist. Jim was getting in his own way by holding on to old models of the competition that no longer applied. Once he let go of the past his company rallied behind him, and is now rapidly getting back on track.
Jim never lacked brainpower (he developed two important patents for gosh sakes). What he lacked was not IQ but SI, Story Intelligence. In the marketplace of ideas, SI – Story Intelligence – is the most important sort of smarts to have.