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What’s your (impactful) story? - Bonar Institute for Purposeful Leadership

The merit of value stories cannot be understated.  Impactful value stories have a powerful influence on people’s decisions and behaviours. As an old friend put it:  “Facts tell, but stories sell!”


Although demonstrating the competitive benefits of a product or service is indeed necessary, it is not entirely enough.

Impactful value stories impact people’s decisions and behaviours. They motivate people to want to work with you.

They are essential in the following situations:

  • Board chair must rally directors to an agreed position
  • Board members must persuade fellow directors on a preferred stance
  • CEOs who must “sell” their vision to their boards, investors, and other stakeholders
  • Executives who need the collaboration of colleagues from other areas of the business to finish a pressing initiative
  • Marketing and sales teams must induce new customers to buy their products and services while retaining existing ones.

Customers want to be convinced that you are able to help them achieve their goals successfully. They not only want to see your track record but also that your values mirror their own. These “matched” qualities assure customers that they will be worth the investment of their time, attention, and money.

Our most successful clients understand that it is not enough to simply be good at what they do.  Good is not the same thing as memorable.  When they tell an authentic, impactful, and unique story of who they are and what they stand for, they connect with customers at an emotional (thus memorable) level. Prospective customers are more apt to like them, believe in them, and trust them. They are inclined to do business with them – if not now, then later.

A well-told value story is an indispensable tool in effectively marketing products and services. Tesla is a good example.  It loses hundreds of millions of dollars every year, yet still, it entices investors. It fosters customer loyalty on the promise to reinvent and dominate the automotive market with new, ecologically friendly technology. Tesla’s real value is its story.

It takes courage to craft an impactful value story. It can seem daunting, but it begins with a first three-fold step: have a firm grasp of your own values, know what your customers want, and understand what they value enough to pay for.

Most successful organizations recognize that they must develop new ways of coping, adapting, and doing business to thrive.

They don’t ignore old assets and strengths. They endeavour to create and foster new strengths based on a deep understanding of their genuine values, which will reflect and guide the organizations that they serve. This helps shape purpose and direction in achieving their organization’s ultimate business goal.

Purpose-driven companies recognize that business is about creating lasting worth for all their stakeholders: shareholders, team members, vendors, customers, society, and the environment. As I said in a previous article, successful organizations focus on creating a meaningful, sustainable future both within and beyond their companies, prospering through purpose, and sharing their powerful value stories with their customers and other stakeholders. When we align our value story with those of our customers we demonstrate a keen understanding of their issues, values, and overarching purpose. They believe we will help them to prosper and thrive.

At the Bonar Institute, we have clearly stated our own purpose. We are committed to helping our clients discover theirs. We empower them to optimize their performance by embracing a reality greater than themselves and the companies they lead—the genesis of creating a powerful, impactful, and purposeful value story.

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