I´ve recently been asked who likes stories. The answer is simple: everybody. Literally EVERYBODY. Stories are probably one of the most demographic-proof arts in the world: Everybody – regardless of age, race or gender, cultural or societal background – likes to listen to a good story. And the beauty is: stories work everywhere the same; as it has been proven in Joseph Campbell´s groundbreaking work `the hero with a thousand faces`. No matter if you tell a story to an Inuit fisherman, an Australian construction worker or a hunter from Senegal. All of them will appreciate and understand the same good story.
The American dream is a story
Every nation, religion and culture has their own stories and myths that gives them identity and holds them together. Take the bible, or the Talmud or the Quran. Those books tell one story and one myth after the other. For over 2000 years through parables and stories, the bible has given us a set of guidelines and moral laws, which is deeply embedded in western society.
Or think about the American dream. It was basically a story of hope that lured millions of immigrants to America and made it the most powerful economy in the world.
Multinationals are like ancient tribes
So why are stories so important in today´s globalized business world? The reason is simple. Nowadays, fifty of the one hundred biggest economies are multinational corporations. Though there are many differences in culture, language and backgrounds among employees around the world, stories and myths of the corporation give them identity and hold them together.
In many ways the modern corporation resembles ancient tribes: the stories that circulate in and around the organization paint a picture of the company´s culture and values, heroes and enemies, good points and bad, both towards employees and customers. By sharing stories we define who we are and what we stand for.