With all of this, storytelling is the solution to the, I don't care about this attitude, and if we can lean into that and tell a good story, then people will be bought into the mission and it becomes a lot more difficult to leave or let's put positively a lot easier for them to jump on board and to be excited about the work.
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Welcome back to the show. I am so excited today because I am here with Alex Street, a storytelling coach who I have had the privilege of working with, and now all of you will get a little taste of his magic, and Alex believes when you share your story, you can change the world.
As an actor, youth pastor, and public speaker for more than 20 years, he knows firsthand how powerful storytelling is when it comes to personal development, business strategy, and creating a. And as I mentioned, Alex and I met because he came highly recommended by Lori, harder as a storytelling coach. And I was like, all right, I gotta work with this guy.
And funny story, when we had our first session, I had lost my voice due to some kind of illness, picked up by my preschooler, and Alex listened to 90 minutes of like Mike Myers as Linda Richmond, where I was like, "all right, let's talk through this. Here's my story." It was interesting, and he sent that recording back to me and I was like, all right, I'm not gonna be listening to this, but I'm glad you took copious notes because you listened that, no thanks.
I've never told you, but you know, it really was painful. My ears were, were a little sore after that. It was. So, and then our second session was like a little bit better, but I was still recovering from it, so that's good. It's good. It was such high quality content that I couldn't not embrace it. I couldn't not stay there and lean in to your story and who you are.
Ah Lia, you're just so captivating no matter what your voice. Sounds like. There you go. Thank you. I appreciate that. Alex helped me craft the narrative arc of what my brand is about and my why. And when I launched this podcast, I thought to myself, okay, I have to have him on as a guest to talk about the power of storytelling.
And how leaders communicate with their teams because this is a game changer for all the folks listening. This is going to set you apart as a leader, as an influencer, as a negotiator, as a motivator, all of the good things. Thank you, Alex, for coming on the show. I'm so excited for you to be here. Yeah, this is an absolute pleasure.
I. As I say, I just love being in your space, in your presence and turning the tables a little bit here, letting you lead the conversation as so far. Yeah. It's, it's been kind of, you know, me guiding you through and so I'm excited to, to be here and to share all of that storytelling with your audience today and, and support them in their endeavors.
Awesome. I love it. Well, let's divert, I mean, what does storytelling have to do with being a great. Like, why do we care about this? Oh, it's so good. I think it's, it's everything. I mean, it really is. We think leadership is, you know, I point the direction and then you follow me as we go there, but what we're seeing, what's part of the conversation now that maybe wasn't so prevalent 60 years ago or so, but of course was part of it.
What we're seeing now is the people you point in a direction, you say, let's go here. Whether it's a project you're managing or it's a long-term goal for your company, you say, we're going over here. They are sitting back here going, yeah, but why? And I think the why question is something that a lot of employees and team members are feeling this ability and space to ask more than ever.
Yeah. But why? And if you as a leader can't answer that. It's gonna be really hard to pull them along, and you're probably gonna lose some people along the way and have to replace the team. So the storytelling aspect of this is about being so clear on why we are going where we're going. If you can tell that story, then they don't have to ask that question, and they are emotionally gonna be invested in the ride that we're going on.
So what does it have to do with being a good leader? It really is about making the leadership journey easier than ever. Having people feel more invested than ever, and truly feeling like they're a part of making a difference here. Yeah, I love that. And I mean, talk about this a lot with helping people find their purpose in their work.
I mean, one of the biggest things we're hearing with quiet quitting and the great resignation is, I feel like, what's the point? Do I even matter here? I just feel like a cog in a machine. And so the power of the story is helping people see how they fit into the bigger picture, helping people really tune into their personal why, why this mission of the company is important.
And it's really critical, I think, for leaders to understand that there's a story in everything. There's a narrative in anything, and it doesn't matter if your work. Behind the scenes or the piece that's always being talked about. You can always show someone that piece of where they fit into the bigger picture, and that's gonna fuel a sense of purpose.
It's gonna fuel higher motivation and engagement, which helps people be more resilient to change. It really helps you get through all of this stuff that we're working through right now where, yeah, we don't have all the answers. It's not all certain, but if you can show people the. Then they feel more resilient to the next job that they have.
They see, oh wow, I can actually do more than just this role. I'm gonna be okay. And this, again, is gonna help fuel motivation instead of all the anxiety that people are feeling right now. I think that bang on exactly. There's this whole generation in the workforce right now that is saying almost above all purpose matters.
And the more that you can help me understand how I am a part. This company's purpose and how this company's purpose is part of a bigger purpose, like making a difference in this world, then Yes. Like I'm in. That's it. And you know, we can talk about, start with why Simon Sinek and why leads to, you know, he says, How, what, why?
I say what how. Why. But there's this, that why is. So much more than a powerful statement that the company stands on. It really is painting a picture of where we are and how all of us are a part of getting to where we're going. That's the story. It's from where we are to where we're going. And that's what storytelling is in this context.
And I love simplifying it down to that because I think, correct me if I'm wrong, but a lot of leaders who are like, I don't have time for storytelling. Like there's this, like we got stuff to do. We got places to be. I can't be abstract and artistic and poetic about this. I need to get us moving. But actually I think if you, when you tell that story from where we are to where we're going, it's exponentially faster to get everybody along that train going with you.
Exactly. A huge plus one plus a hundred of that. I mean, I think disbelief that these kinds of things slow things down that, you know, let's just get to the work, cut to the chase as you just called. When people aren't bought in, that's when all the decisions are reopened. That's when there's confusion around the priorities.
That's when people start moving slower. That's when people start checking out and figuring out that story and getting your head around it. This is how you move faster. This is how you actually get that momentum. Anything wheel is about really on any episodes of the podcast, this is all about helping you move faster because all of these tools are the things that if you think about upfront and you get right, this is going to help optimize your.
And I mean, this is how you do the how, like when I'm talking about implementing process. Mm-hmm. And helping people figure out, you know, how to get their work done more effortlessly, more efficiently. People have to understand why. Mm-hmm. We don't just say, Hey, fill out the status report because I said so.
Or Here, fill out this budget tracker because I said, so it's, Hey, we have this status report so that your work can be seen and noticed by leadership. And this gives me a tool to be able to make sure your work is getting recognized and amplified. Mm-hmm. And I need you to capture it, you know, so that I have the tools I need to back up your work.
Wow. I'm gonna fill out that Savage report because I have the. When you deal with people, I'd love to flip this on you a little bit, because when people, I assume come to you and they're like, yeah, but they're here to fill out the status report. That's why we pay them. So I don't need to soften that with anything.
They just need to do their job. So status report, do it or like, you know, what do you say? I mean, you just gave the alternate of like, Yeah, here's what it could sound like if you painted a bit of a story around this, but what about the people who are out there or are they not listening to this podcast?
Well, that's a good question. So I think that's a lot of times where we start and that's why there's a lot of frustration. And I think there's, you know, different personalities, different experience, different kind of industries. Different generations have different perspectives on, well, hey, why are, you know, there was a time when you just did your job and I think what we're finding is that the lack of connection to the work is slowing things.
I mean, I found throughout having, you know, really having to get people on that status report for over a decade working like was, people may eventually fill it out, but it's gonna take longer. It's gonna be incomplete, it's gonna take iterations, and the fastest way to get people on board is to get them bought in doing it because I said so.
Mm-hmm. That is working less and less and less. If we want things to move faster, you gotta have that. And what does that do to the actual human on the other end of that, yes, the human, the person might get it done, but what is that doing to them over a series of months or years? Just doing that thing rather than being emotionally bought in.
I mean, I could guess. They're, they lose their soul in it. Yeah. Lots of motivation. Exactly. Disengagement. Yeah, exactly. And that's what we're seeing a lot in, in data from Gallup and other, you know, McKenzie other places, is this lack of connection to the work. This is why we saw, I don't know how many millions of people in the great resignation leave without, you know, there was leaving because of Covid and then there was leaving because I don't care about this anymore.
And there was leaving because of this lack of purpose leaving because, I got some chance to step away. I got more time with my family, or I sort of was faced with mortality and how short life is and whatever came up for people and we said, I'm not just gonna fill this out because somebody said so. And I think that's the consequence for not really having a clear story and a clear why is it's not working anymore.
The old stuff's not working. Mm-hmm. Yeah, and I think if you know, to summarize kind of this part is, I think with all of this storytelling is the solution to the, I don't care about this attitude. And if we can lean into that and tell a good story. Then people will be bought into the mission and it becomes a lot more difficult to leave, or let's put it positively, a lot easier for them to jump on board and to be excited about the work that you're doing.
Status report or you know, rally, whatever it is that we're doing. It's, it becomes a lot easier to be a part of. Yeah, that's good. Absolut. And I think one thing to add is sometimes when people think about this, it's like, well, I see the connection if I'm working, you know, if I'm saving lives or mm-hmm.
There's a story about NASA where like when everybody was working on the mission to the moon, from the head astronauts to the janitor, everyone's like, we're gonna put a man on the moon. And everyone had a shared vision. Yeah. But what happens when you. In a, a Macy's at the counter, and you're like, well, you know, like, how do I find that?
And I think you can still, actually, I wanna ask you that. How do you instill that this is your interview? How do you instill that? Why, when. It's not maybe to everybody would seem like the most exciting situation. Yeah. Cuz put the man on the moon was, was exciting. And that's how like basically Kennedy, you know, won his presidency on that as, as his pitch as well.
And then guess what? They did it. Like, there was this end goal, this vision of this is where we're going, right? So very easy and then we're gonna accomplish that. But you're Macy's, you're at the makeup counter or you are, you know, folding pants. And so how does that employees working for minimum wage feel like they're a part of something?
That's making a difference, making an impact, changing the world, and I think that's where it's on Macy's or department store X to say we are not just about putting pants on someone, but when they buy our pants, When they interact with somebody at our makeup counter, we are actually giving them confidence to face their day, to feel like they look good.
And if you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you do good. Like there's this, you paint that story and that is what goes out in your company wide emails. That's what goes out in your Monday morning meeting. That's what we talk about, is I'm so grateful that you are here today for your eight hour shift, because today, You're gonna give people confidence to go and live their lives better.
One pair of pants at a time, right? There's this, that's how we do that. And any company that started. Even if it's a company that's like, I just made this thing because it's a quick way to make a buck. You know what? I'm sure you could make up a story around that. I'm really more talking to the people who have some kind of passion behind the company that they're working with.
Most people that I work with are mostly founders, brand owners, speakers who are. So attached personally to what they're doing with that, it's easier to find, to attach that to the vision that you started this with and like, what's the purpose behind this? What's the passion? What's the world change that you wanna make?
Yeah. Yes. If it's confidence, confidence. Run with that and share that and lead with that. And then that goes to any organization, whatever size it is, whether it's Tina's Lemonade, stand around the corner. Yeah. Or Apple. Yeah. You're all working towards something beyond yourself. Yeah. Well, and this is why I love this so much for teams, because I mean, everyone listening, just Scott Don Draper himself, like Macy's gonna give you a call next week, but look at the power of this, okay?
That you don't have to think. Man, my team, my product, my company. I don't have this like I'm not building an apple, but you actually can always communicate this, and this is why I love the work you do from a team's perspective, from a motivation perspective, from a resilience to change perspective. Because anybody can adopt what you're talking about and bringing this into the conversation like you.
In your emails, in your team meetings, especially the bigger town halls, we don't wanna just see, hear a update on the company financials or see a product demo or here where we're messing stuff up and not working hard enough. We wanna be grounded in the story we're bought in. And now you can kind of add the rest of the things, but like without that.
Yeah, I, I think what's so important, like there's that end. Yeah, let's say confidence. And you're like, wait, great. I can keep rah rah, let's go, let's give confidence. But it's just as important to have the beginning part of that story. The, the problem. Yeah. You know, the, the from piece. And so again, like then that looks like.
What we actually care about is helping people move from, you know, picture someone walking into Macy's and their what, maybe confused about what to buy, what's gonna make them look good? What kind of makeup do I put on? And while that person, like I'm now training my employees to say, look for those people.
Listen for confusion language. I don't know what to buy. It's for my wife and I don't know what she listen for those. And in those moments you recognize, oh, this is a moment where I can make them feel more confident than they did 10 minutes ago. That's the interaction that now I'm training my employees on.
And then company wide, you look at this, you're like, look, actually we had a really rough quarter. You know, we're in the red. And that can leave a lot of people confused about where they, what their position is in this company, what their role is. Are there gonna be lay. Let me just be the first to say that this is a good place to be.
We have a plan. We have a, and so even then, as a leader, you're like addressing this confusion. Yeah. And instilling confidence, which is the company wide story, which then comes down right down to the every single customer that you're telling. This is the ethos, this is the, I think what we're talking about here.
This is the importance of if you can do that, that's bringing a whole company on board that's bringing a whole team on board with a mission and a. Absolutely. And it looks like it's a huge differentiator for yourself as a leader and as a manager, because you have this story, you have this people power of getting people bought in.
Yeah. Right. And so people say, oh, what makes them a good leader? They're just different. They just have the charisma. Yeah. Maybe don't, maybe there's, they just tell a better story. Yeah. I love that so much. I mean, I think, you know, we covered purpose, motivation, engagement, and I guess I would ask for someone listening if you feel like, well, I get that I should bring some of my own personal peace.
I know vulnerability's important in storytelling, but what if I'm not that comfortable in, in going there? Like how do I sort of get my head around what to share and how much of myself to bring into this? How do you start? I mean, the first step is, like I did with with you and like I do with all my clients, is like, look, you wanna be a part of something?
Let's look at your story. You wanna speak, well, let's go back to your story. Even if you don't think that your story is going to be a part of your main keynote that you present, let's look at your story, because that actually is this opportunity to pull back the curtain to open the. On why you care about what you care about.
So I mean, you can do any personality test out there and you can see kind of, you know, this is, oh, this is why I act the way I do, and I believe my bias is that shows up in your story when you look at early beliefs that you had and what barriers got in the way of that, and how you're showing up now.
There's a reason you care about what you care about. And so when we think about, do I share that? Do I talk about my broken past, my difficult family, the abuse and trauma that I've experienced when I'm just trying to motivate my small team to like get their reports in on time? Does that make sense? Is that necessary?
Is there a bridge between those two things? And I think a lot of people are saying no. Like there's no, again, there's no space for that. Why would I do that? And so my first thing is, you may never share this, but it's worth doing the work. It's worth looking at your story, doing the story work to understand why you care, because your story is first for you, right?
Then you get to unpack that and say, oh, holy crap. My story is about going from confusion to clarity. That's like I lived in confusion for so long and then I started to share my story and dig into that, and I found clarity on who I am and what I'm supposed to do and how I show up in the world. Man, that is fascinating.
So now when you're showing up to a meeting, then you say, you know, I can sense everybody's feeling really. Confused. I'm kind of the Macy's story again, but I can sense everybody's feeling kind of confused around this. You know, I get that. I remember the first time that I got on stage as an actor, I was so clear on my lines.
But then I got up in front of the audience and I delivered my first line and my voice cracked cuz I was in ninth grade. Hello Puberty. And the audience reacted in a way. I didn't expect them to react. They laughed, but the line wasn't funny. It just was embarrassing. And that like made me really confused on how do I make sure the audience reacts the way I want them to react, and then my focus was more on them than on my message.
So for us as a company, if we're focused more on how people are reacting than doing our best work, We're going to be confused. Hmm. But when we do our best work, I believe the audience will react in the best way. Yeah. That's the clarity I want you to go forward with today. Yeah. Right. So just even in that roleplaying a little bit, if I'm in charge of a team, you are much more motivated to do that because you know that I've experienced this feeling that you are experiencing right now.
Yeah. Absolutely. So you don't have to go into trauma vulnerability. You don't have to do that stuff by any means. Yeah, but I would argue you do have to be aware. Yeah, and know how you've come through that and what your transformation has been, because that will allow you then to help your people and your clients, your shareholders, everybody go through a similar transformation when it's necessary.
Absolutely, and I love that approach too. If you're modeling. How to receive feedback. I think a lot of times if a leader comes forward, it's, it's that humility. I've heard a lot of leaders share how they've dealt with imposter syndrome or, you know, here's moments when I was afraid and here's moments where I didn't get it right.
This, sharing your story and bringing a little bit of that vulnerability in and, and sharing. Hey, here's what I've wrestled with. This shows that both you're aware you're not perfect, that you've had things you've had to work through. That sadly, even when we get to the highest levels of leadership and seniority, we still wrestle with a lot of this stuff too.
That's an important thing for people to understand, and the more we do that, the more connection we create with our teams and the more psychological safety we. Because people see, oh, it's okay to not be perfect. It's okay to get it wrong. It's okay to be afraid of this thing at first, and you show from two story framework you're talking about that we can actually get to the other side of this.
I think that's it, and that's the fear is I'm in this position, right? I'm in this position of authority. And seniority expertise, whatever words you wanna put to it that you feel there's a responsibility to not show a flaw. Yeah, to not show a crack. I can't let them know that I'm weak. And you know, Brene Brown would be the first to really stand on this soapbox and say, no, no, no.
Vulnerability isn't weakness. Right. But vulnerability without barriers, is oversharing. Yeah.
So be bold enough to be vulnerable, but in the right setting and in the right time and with the right stories. And it's exactly what you just said, Lia, is that we'll create this space of this psychological safety that people actually lean way in and respect you far more.
Because they know this about you.
So yet another way storytelling differentiates you and elevates you as a leader and, and again, mm-hmm. Serves to motivate your team because psychological safety also is a foundation for inclusion and belonging. And when we see, hey, I'm not the only person that's gotten stuck before or has dealt with something stressful or hard or been overwhelmed, the more we see that, the more we see, Hey, I can show up here fully and I can actually contribute.
Yeah, four of the most powerful words in relational connection are You're kidding, you two. And if yes, as soon as you share your story, and I respond by saying, you're kidding, you too. Like you've experienced this too. There's an immediate connection. There's a bond that that just grew, that was just formed.
And imagine being able to form that with a team. Of now dedicated employees that feel like they're a part of something that is significant and authentic and real, and we're working with real people and I'm treated like a, a real human, I feel included, as you just said. Right. Yeah. Yeah. There's no end to the value and the benefit that just knowing and then sharing that authentic journey, that authentic transformation story can have to creating further, deeper relational connection.
Yeah. With the people. And, and I love that for fusing as a tool for virtual teams or hybrid teams, distributed teams mm-hmm. Where you're not seeing people every day. I think creating that connection can be tough. It can take longer. And I think there's ways to shortcut that by sharing and by, you know, sharing your story with others and having that you're giving me too moment because yeah, like this is, it can take so long to figure that out.
Flipping our laptop open to go to a meeting and then closing it. And like you have no in between time. Teams have to do more to create that and figuring out ways to bring story in. And I know you do this with teams already. Mm-hmm. Figuring out how to, you know, help people figure out their story. What is the right way to share that?
Yeah. What are some of the vehicles for doing that is so powerful because as we already said, This fosters better collaboration. This fosters more connection and, and communication. Mm-hmm. And then the work gets done with more ease. What's interesting, even when it comes around teams is when we think about the, you know, user-generated content now and how if somebody's a part of a team, you can motivate them to be part of, essentially part of the marketing for the company as well, just by how they talk about their work, how they talk.
What they're working on, the products that they see and use and like, and there's this ability, as I've worked with some teams now on specific products and smaller teams, and what they hired me for was to really come on and help everybody as part of that team, 5, 6, 8. People really understand the story so that when they show up on Instagram and talk about the work or the sale that's coming up that they're a part of or the, the product launch.
They're not just talking about a product, but they're all on the same page to say, Hey, we believe that you deserve to feel amazing and you shouldn't feel stuck in your health anymore. Yeah. That's why this event coming up, or that's why this sale is so important and everyone's saying the same language and everybody knows exactly what the transformation is that you're offering.
So the team dynamic there is actually, we're all coming around again, this shared story that we can all talk about confide. On our own platforms, in our own time and our own way, which elevates the whole, the whole mission. Wow, that's so powerful for, as you say, people are now being brand ambassadors and instead of saying don't share anything, it's like, Hey, let's get excited.
Let's share this, but let's have a shared language, as you said, because it could go off the rails. But without that, you know, you can be really excited about that. And it's authentic because you got everybody bought in by using this format. Instead of like sending an email. Here's the story you should share, probably.
Frustration or the biggest problem that people come to me with, whether they're a, a solopreneur or leading a a team or part of a team is this intimidation. Yeah. Right. So if, if you're like, yeah, go be a brand ambassador, you're like, that's an intimidating thing. Am I gonna do it right? Am I gonna say the right thing?
Oh, Tina's coming up a couple times tonight. Oh, she says it better than I do. And it you're intimidated. But once we all get on this level playing field, the same language, the intimidation factor goes way down. Yeah. Because the clarity is. Absolutely. All of this is so awesome. I know folks are dying to know how do they work with you?
Yes, so good. Thank you. The main work that I do with people is one-on-one story coaching, so it's me with the business owner, the brand owner, the founder, the speaker really helping you go from that place of confusion around your story to absolute clarity so you can show up and speak to your. With confidence, right?
Just like you are here. And then of course, as we mentioned, there's these team story coaching workshops, which is coming in, working with the whole team, getting some info beforehand. How does everybody think this story is right now? Then we do the workshop and then we put it into motion and implement that.
So that's a really exciting project as well. So if you've got a team, you're leading a team, then you can bring me in to guide through all of that and really get everybody on that same. So you do a two from to get to the two from like Absolutely. That's it. It's all infused through the whole thing. Yeah.
It's always about moving you towards clarity, so, yeah. And is there anything else you're excited you wanna share with the audience? Something more they can learn about what you're working on? Yeah, I mean, if you want to just engage with me in any way, I'm always on Instagram @StreetSays. So show up there.
And then if you wanna do this work, you wanna kind of get a grasp on your own story or your own brand story, then you can go to my site, AlexStreet.ca/30s and there's a 30nd story worksheet there to help you. Frame your big complicated story into something that you can share. You can speak in as little as 30 seconds.
So if that's exciting for you, you wanna work on that elevator pitch, then that's a great worksheet to start with. So go ahead, go there, find me on Instagram, say hi to me. I'm always open. Awesome. Thank you so much. Anything you wanna leave our audience with? I think really just the truth that when you share your story, you shape the world.
Whether you are an individual around the dinner table or you are on a stage speaking your message or you're leading a team around the boardroom, the story is what shapes people lead with that and let that make the difference. Love that. Thank you so much for being on here today. Such a fun conversation.
So many amazing insights and cannot wait for folks to listen. Thank you for having me. Such a. That's all I have for today. Thank you so much for tuning in to the Managing Made Simple Podcast where my goal is to demystify the job of people management so that together we can make the workplace somewhere everyone can thrive.
I always love to hear from you, so please reach out at liagarvin.com or message me on LinkedIn. See you next time.