6 Top Tips for Leading Through Change with Storytelling

The Power of Narrative: Companies with a strong narrative are 30% more likely to outperform their rivals.

Marketing Director
3 Apr

Why storytelling through organisational change works

In the TED Talk, leadership consultant, Karen Eber, shares how the world's best leaders and visionaries earn trust through storytelling. It’s a powerful technique that can bring authenticity to those leaders wanting to build trust and encourage teams to follow them.

Change is inevitable in business. New markets emerge, regulations shift, and employee demographics are diverse and constantly evolving. But leading your organisation through these transitions can be sticky. Facts and figures only go so far. To truly connect and inspire your people, you need the power of storytelling led by a strong leadership team.

If you’re in charge of communications, this is where strategic storytelling can be your secret weapon. Crafting a compelling strategic narrative helps you influence key stakeholders and gain buy-in from your leadership teams. Equipping those leading the changes with a clear, consistent story that articulates your vision, values, and the "why" behind your key company-wide decisions, especially during times of change.

So how do you empower your leadership team with a strategic narrative?


A well-crafted story humanises your leadership and brings trust with employees. According to the Harvard Business Review, by sharing the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, you create a sense of shared purpose and psychological safety  – crucial for navigating change effectively. Leaders in high-trust workplaces who ask for help from colleagues instead of just telling them to do things can result in a stimulation of oxytocin production in others, increasing their trust and cooperation.


Change can be confusing when you don’t understand the why. A strategic narrative acts as a guiding light (your North Star), ensuring everyone understands the bigger picture and how their role contributes to the company's success. McKinsey research shows that employees at purpose-driven companies are four times more engaged at work. Furthermore, in their 2023 report, they state that CEOs will need to commit to inspire others by sharing their own personal change stories to engage the workforce and that companies with a strong narrative are 30% more likely to outperform their rivals.


Stories tap into our emotions, making information more memorable and engaging. People are 22 times more likely to remember a story than just facts and figures as suggested by Jerome Bruner, a cognitive psychologist. The TED Talk by Karen Eber shares how the brain responds to stories and why they're a crucial technique for leaders.


Don't just explain what's changing, explain the purpose behind it. Connect the change to your company's core values and vision.


People can sniff out inauthenticity a mile away. Encourage your leadership teams to share their own personal experiences and vulnerabilities to build trust and connection.


Change is a journey, not a destination. A one-hit story will be short-lived. Build recognition and progress into your comms plan along the way to keep spirits high and maintain momentum.

AND FINALLY... Storytelling is a powerful tool, but it's not a magic bullet.  When carefully and strategically planned, it has the potential to activate and engage people on an emotional level. Be transparent, listen to your team's concerns, and be prepared to adapt your narrative as needed.  By harnessing the power of story, your leadership team can not only navigate change, but emerge stronger and more united on the other side.

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