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The Power of Stories – John P. Kotter, HBS

By April 20, 2006August 10th, 2020No Comments
john p. kotter, esteemed professor from harvard business school, headshot, text is the power of stories

John P. Kotter, a renowned expert on leadership at the Harvard Business School (mini bio below), recently wrote a piece in Forbes called “The Power Of Stories.”

A quick read with some nice nuggets of insight and wisdom on storytelling and storytelling for leaders.

Here are a few of my favorite nuggets…all are direct quotes from the article.

– “Those in leadership positions who fail to grasp or use the power of stories risk failure for their companies and for themselves.”

– “We learn best–and change–from hearing stories that strike a chord within us.”

– “Too few business leaders grasp the idea that stories can have a profound effect on people.”

– “The gestures made (or not made) by leaders can turn into the stories that powerfully affect behavior.”

– “Sam Walton was famous for the stories told by and about him, especially those that featured his visits to his [Wal-Mart] stores.”

– “The stories that a company broadcasts about itself can also have a powerful impact on customers, shareholders and employees.”

Kotter posed two very interesting and compelling questions that we should ask ourselves every day.

Question 1:  “What are the stories that define us in light of our customers, employees and shareholders?

Question 2:  “Are these the stories we want to tell – and have others tell about us?”

Mini Bio, John P. Kotter

The HBS article includes this bio, John P. Kotter, a renowned expert on leadership at the Harvard Business School, has been the premier voice on how the best organizations actually “do” change. His bestseller, Leading Change–with an actionable, eight-step process for implementing successful transformations–became the change bible for managers around the world.

Improve (dramatically) your storytelling, public speaking, and communication skills


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  • Tip – An Easy Way to Start a Presentation, Share a “Today Story”  (read)
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Ira Koretsky

About Ira Koretsky

Ira Koretsky has built The Chief Storyteller® into one of the most recognized names in communication, especially business storytelling. He has delivered over 500 keynote presentations and workshops in nearly a dozen countries, in more than one hundred cities, across 30 plus industries. His specialties are simplifying the complex and communicating when the stakes are high. He is also an adjunct professor in public speaking and storytelling at the University of Maryland's Business School. With over 25 years of experience, he is a sought-after storytelling coach, global speaker, trainer, consultant, communication coach, and public speaking coach.