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Story Driven: You don’t need to compete when you know who you are by Bernadette Jiwa

My Rating: 7 / 10

Everyday I check Bernadette Jiwa’s blog for an new entry as I enjoy her perspective on how important a story can be when going about life and business. Jiwa poses the question of what is your story? It could be how you act in the business world. Conversely it could be your focus on volunteering or being a better member of your family. Fundamentally this book is about discovering your story – essentially your values and beliefs – so that you have better traction, attention (from others) and success.

The book was recommended by Seth Godin via his blog; therefore I purchased it straight away. The book itself is a very fast and easy read, which comes with a typical how-to framework; also a set of steps on how to look backward in order to learn about yourself. As quoted in the book: “life can only be understood looking backwards, but it must be lived going forwards”. Jiwa then provides many case study examples of how the process works; think IKEA, Tesla, Wikipedia etc.

Given my industry speciality is retail I found some of her case studies relevant. For example, the global landscape is changing dramatically and faster than ever before. Changes in demographics affect how we connect with our customers. Jiwa quoted that 87% of millennial base their purchasing decisions on companies’ corporate and social responsibility policies. This is a wake-up call to retailers and other companies who do not have their corporate stories in alignment!

There are many books and frameworks to what has been outlined in Story Driven. I cannot say this book is entirely unique in the way it has been written. That said I enjoyed the approach, examples and feel I can incorporate parts of the framework in my personal and business dealings.

Three key takeaways from the book:

  1. Achieving maximum impact only occurs when you include all five elements of your story: backstory, values, purpose, vision and strategy.
  2. B-Corps: For-profit companies certified by the non-profit B lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.
  3. Slack (the collaboration software) stands for Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge.

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