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The Power of Organizational Storytelling

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1 The Power of Organizational Storytelling
Terry Weisz Bauder Vice President, Internal Communications Marriott International, Inc.

2 Objectives Engage Employees Through the Power of Storytelling
Create Community Through Shared Knowledge and Experience Discover Your Organization’s “Voice”

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6 Why Is Storytelling So Important?

7 Storytelling… Is a timeless art Lives at the core of every culture
Defines and perpetuates values Provides direction, inspiration and meaning Celebrates differences Unites through shared experience

8 Listeners… Tend to forget from one-third to one-half of new learnings within 8 hours Only remember on average 25% of what was said 2 months later Are bombarded with information Inner dialogue impacts reception Ralph Nichols & Leonard Stevens, Harvard Business Review on Effective Communication

9 Listening for Ideas vs. Facts
Ideas are memorable Stories trigger ideas, which create mental images, evoking a more sensory experience Leverage stories to engage with inner dialogue

10 The Power of Organizational Storytelling

11 Organizational Storytelling
Creates context for past, present and future Heritage, culture and core values Shared knowledge and understanding Inspire visionary thinking Helps bridge language, literacy and cultural boundaries Builds commitment and brand ambassadors Expands perception beyond “bricks and mortar”

12 What Makes a Good Story: Universal Themes
Triumph over adversity Generosity, kindness, “doing the right thing” Hard work well-rewarded Ingenuity and innovation Devotion, loyalty Lessons learned

13 “…encourage taking calculated RISKS”

14 “Celebrity Treatment”
Smitty Smith Atlanta, Georgia “A few years ago, Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda walked into an Atlanta hotel lobby and was greeted by a man in full Dodgers uniform…”

15 “… make an EMOTIONAL connection”

16 Loan Co San Francisco, California
“Don’t Look Back…” “I’ll never forget saying those words to my sister. The year was 1980 and we were scrambling into a rowboat at the edge of our village… in Vietnam. We were anxious to begin a new life … but I knew that if either of us looked back, we would lose our courage.”

17 Driving Engagement When associates are passionate about the company’s mission, they invest personal effort to ensure its success Employment experience has a direct impact on customer experience Marriott Workforce Effectiveness analysis of hotel performance validates that engagement is positively correlated with: Financial performance Guest satisfaction Intent to return Associate productivity measures

18 Storytelling: Engaging Hearts and Minds
Example: General Manager Chat Sessions with all associates Focused on topics such as managing personal finances and understanding benefits Used stories to personalize the experience Enrollments in Marriott’s Retirement Savings Plan up nearly 14% (about 12,000 associates)

19 Designing a Strategic Storytelling Platform

20 Strategy Take an integrated approach
Identify desired audiences, outcomes and opportunities Align with and promote key messages and core values Define success criteria Volume of submissions Number of placements Frequency of story use

21 Sourcing Stories Formal channels (e.g., web sites, blogs, voice mail boxes, submission forms, templates, etc. Informal channels (e.g., “grapevine”) Stories “journal” or notecards Interviews / “living history” Story champions, committees Customer letters and testimonials Employee recognition programs Establish measurable goals and rewards

22 The Ritz-Carlton “Wow” Stories Program

23 “When the guest arrived at the hotel, all he had was his old address scribbled on a piece of paper…”

24 Promoting Stories Engage story champions
Leverage new and existing channels Key forums (e.g., speeches, training, celebrations) Newsletters Stand-up meetings Promotional materials, stories book Web sites, blogs Promote with customers, media, analysts, shareholders and other external audiences

25 Leveraging New Media

26 “Marriott on the Move” Blog
Launched January 2007 250,000 unique visitors ~25% of visitors outside U.S. Traffic growing ~10% per month Correlation between visiting site and reservations ~50% internal audience

27 “Our Stories” Web Site Extends storytelling to external audiences
Generates interest among associates to participate in storytelling

28 MGS Marriott.com Our Stories Corporate Info Newsroom Site Paths and Process

29 Annual Report

30 “Marriott Minute” Weekly video newscast delivered
Highly visual communication tool with top news stories from around the globe 70,000+ Viewers

31 Optimize Storytelling When…
Employees are new to the company The organization is undergoing change or transformation Milestones or success to celebrate In times of crisis

32 “You always wonder how you would do in battle,” says Nancy Castillo
“You always wonder how you would do in battle,” says Nancy Castillo. “… On September 11, I learned that instinct is what carries you through a crisis.”

33 Summary Storytelling is powerful Builds emotional engagement
Perpetuates culture and values Conveys universal themes Can span language, literacy and cultural boundaries Creates shared vision and competitive advantage Cultivate a storytelling culture Actively seek new stories Reward and incent storytelling Leverage variety of channels/media

34 “… All they’ll remember are the stories.”
CLOSE In the book, Bill Marriott tells a story about how many years ago, when he first began speaking at business conferences, he asked for some advice from the best speechwriter he knew: his dad. He wanted tips on preparing for the questions he was getting about strategy and performance. Instead, his dad waved him offi with a simple answer: “Bill, that stuff doesn’t matter to people. All they’ll remember are the stories.”


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