Welcome to the forty-fifth issue of CEE News!
A budding entrepreneur wanted to launch an app. She asked me to review her preliminary investor pitch deck. She had done the market research, identified the need, forecasted the ROI, and built a sound business case. She clearly knew her stuff, but something critical was missing.
As we kept chatting, she shifted from talking about the data to talking about why she wanted to build the app. Her whole demeanor changed. Her eyes sparkled. She couldn’t stop smiling. When she thought about how the app could positively impact the world, she shifted from the stats to the story – from the head to the heart.
“That’s it!” “You’ve clearly done the research and know your numbers,” I said. “Don’t forget to tell the story. Tell it to the investors when raising the capital, and tell it to the engineers so that the why goes into the design.”
If you’re trying to inspire people to action, don’t lead with statistics. Data follows a story. Data supports an argument. The stories should come first.
On another call, an HR Director wanted to get more attention with the C-suite executives in her company. She wanted to convince them that the company was far behind on the diversity and inclusive scale. She had story after story. Millennials were leaving after less than a year on board. Women were underrepresented in the board room. All five people who reported to the President were like him in age, race, and gender.
“What’s the business case?” I asked. “What measurable impact is the cumulation of these issues having on the bottom line? Or, what research supports how diversity improves performance? Your stories are convincing, but unless you can show causal effect on performance, they can be written off as anecdotal,” I added.
Are you having trouble making a case for change? If so, you may need to evaluate if you’ve put enough time into building a case that will reach both the head and the heart.