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10-minute Leadership Lessons – One Story at a Time

Mother Reading a StorybookToday’s post is by Paul Smith, thoughtLEADERS instructor and bestselling author of Lead With a Story.

You’re busy as a leader.  You don’t always have time to invest in learning a great new leadership story to help you build your skills.  I recognize that and I’m here to help.  I’ve distilled down 6 great stories into easy-to-digest 10 minute podcasts for your listening pleasure.

These podcasts are based on interviews with 100 executives and leaders at dozens of companies around the world as they learned their most important leadership lessons – sometimes the hard way.  They feature stories from executives at Proctor & Gamble, Dollar General, Hewlett Packard, Kellogg’s, Dun & Bradstreet, Saatchi & Saatchi, Verizon, and many more. Each episode brings you an important leadership lesson through a single compelling story.

These first 6 episodes will help you grow sales, gain your organization’s commitment to your goals, help your employees find passion for their work, enable you to lead change more effectively, create a more diverse environment in your organization, and learn how to find world-class customer service stories in your company.

Episode 1: A customer-service story gone horribly right

A world-class customer service story you wish was from your company. Learn what great customer service looks like and why you don’t know any great stories like this in your organization.

Episode 2: What scares people about change, and how to fix it

The best lesson I ever learned about leading change I learned from two twin 6-year-old boys. And that lesson is this: People aren’t afraid of change. They’re afraid of not being prepared for change. Learn the difference here.

Episode 3: Finding passion in who you serve

Not excited about what you do? Guest Dan Dorr (Hewlett-Packard) shares a lesson from Dollar General’s CEO that can help you or your organization maintain passion for your work.

Episode 4: Three words from a West Point cadet that define commitment

From former P&G CEO, Bob McDonald, three simple words from a freshman cadet at West Point can help you hold your organization more accountable and build commitment to your goals.

Episode 5: “You don’t see what I see.”

From Bracken Darrell, CEO of Logitech, an insightful lunchtime conversation teaches us that some of the most common diversity offenses in the workplace go on without the perpetrator even knowing what they’ve done.

Episode 6: A friendly office competition that grew sales 50%

A friendly competition at a global investment firm that can teach your organization to achieve goals you might have never thought possible.

So there you go… six great leadership stories in a few minutes apiece.  If you want more stories like these, you can subscribe on iTunes, or click here to sign up for a weekly newsletter delivery to your inbox.  If you’re interested in becoming a better storyteller yourself, check out our Influencing through Storytelling course where we can come into your organization and help you build this powerful, critical skill.

Paul Smith- Paul Smith is a former director and 20-year veteran of the Procter & Gamble Company, and author of Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives that Captivate, Convince, and Inspire. Paul is also the primary architect of a thoughtLEADERS course on Influencing through Storytelling and loves teaching every minute of it.

2 Responses to “10-minute Leadership Lessons – One Story at a Time”

  1. S says:

    Hi! Really like the idea of a 1-minute sound bite from someone amazing. I would love to have the option of reading a transcript of the interview instead of having to listen to the podcast. Also, some of my colleagues are hearing impaired and would prefer this as well. Will you offer this option? Thanks.

    • Paul says:

      Thanks for your questions, S. As for a written version of these podcasts, yes, all of them are written out in full in my book, Lead with a Story, along with about 110 others. It’s available in hardback, e-book, and audible at Amazon and just about every other on-line bookseller.

      As for 1-minute summaries, it probably won’t surprise you that as someone who spends his time researching, writing, and teaching the art and science of better leadership through storytelling, I have a strong belief that a story (even a short 4-5 minute one) is a far more effective teaching device than sound bites and summaries. If I were to reduce these stories to a 1-minute sound bite, it would render them significantly less interesting and less effective. I don’t think my audiences would learn much, and what they did learn, they would soon forget.

      So, part of my reason for using stories like these is to teach leadership lessons in a way that will be remembered and used. But the other reason is to lead by example and practice what I preach.

      Thanks again for your questions.

      Paul Smith
      author, Lead with a Story

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