Why Stories Still Matter

Attention spans are shortening and there’s an avalanche of information. Why do we need stories when we can just get sound bites or tweets? Just tell me what I need to know and skip the setup, right?

The truth is that despite the presumed time savings that’s not nearly as effective. Following the journey is what gives you context to truly grasp the situations and solutions and why they are relevant. Most importantly it gives the reader time to think about the problem space and start considering the solutions before they are presented by the author.

By the time the solution is presented the reader may even think

“That’s what I would have done”
“That’s obvious. Why isn’t X department doing this? Let me talk to them.”
“I knew it!”

This adds a dose of humility and minimizes the author’s role but ultimately achieves the goal of assimilation and propagation of the ideas nonetheless.

Consider instead just the potential responses receiving the end result in bite sized form without the context:

“That would never happen”
“That wouldn’t work in my situation”
“This is too theoretical”
“This is too ivory tower and not practical”

The impact of Goldratt’s The Goal and its more recent IT focused spiritual successor The Phoenix Project present a strong case for the power of stories. Despite its age, The Goal is still worth read to get a less rushed path through the theory of constraints than the later book presents. The Phoenix Project is a must read.

In this venue I’ll try to include not just end state advice but also some stories and anecdotes from myself and others.

Photo Credit: Dmitry Dzhus – Link