How to Talk Like a CEO
There's a coveted strategy, whispered among the ranks of the world's most esteemed CEOs, a strategy that could be your key to making your company stand out. Today, let me unravel this secret for you: the Strategic Narrative.
What Exactly is a Strategic Narrative?
Though you may or may not have stumbled upon this term, you can bet that the big guns in business have used it to monumental success. Giants like Mark Benioff have utilized it time and time again during major keynotes. Bob Iger, too, is no stranger to this approach. But perhaps Ben Horowitz put it most succinctly when he remarked, "Story isn't the role of marketing; story is the strategy."
At its core, a strategic narrative achieves three pivotal objectives:
1. Mapping the Future-It paints a vision of the future.
2. Company's Role- It defines how the company aligns with and influences that future.
3. Customer Journey- It charts out how customers can be part of this shared future.
Risk and Reward-Leading from the Front
It's no walk in the park. Embracing a strategic narrative can be daunting for many CEOs. It's about venturing into the unknown, standing ahead of the crowd, often unprotected. It reminds one of Jon Snow's moment of defiance, where he confronts an overwhelming adversary, undeterred and alone. Yet, for those aiming to establish iconic businesses, this is a necessary leap of faith.
Crafting Your Unique Narrative
Wondering how to embark on this journey? Start by envisioning your industry's landscape in the coming years. Crucially, put a name to your vision. Just like I labeled my company "competitive storytelling," believing that the art of storytelling would dominate and shape society's trajectory. In today's world, where attention is the prime currency, your story becomes your most potent weapon. It's how you cut through the noise and draw attention.
Steve Jobs was a maestro at this. He could foresee needs and desires before they were articulated, leading to innovations that changed the world. Remember Henry Ford's iconic quote? People desired faster horses, but he introduced them to automobiles, changing transportation forever. That's the transformative power of a strategic narrative. The key is in owning and naming it. When Chris Voss termed a concept "tactical empathy," he took ownership, and you should aim for the same.
Getting Started on Your Narrative
It starts in the boardroom. Rally your leadership team, brainstorm about current trends, and project them into the future. Contemplate your company's role in this future, and coin a term for your vision. This process will require iterations and feedback, but remember, as the CEO, you're the driver. While there are professionals who can aid you in this process, the essence, the spirit, must be yours.
Once crystallized, let your strategic narrative permeate every facet of your business. Let it be your guiding North Star. A stellar example of this is Elon Musk's SpaceX, where the goal of making humans multi-planetary isn't just a mission; it's a narrative each employee embodies.
Your personal stories, experiences, and dreams form the tapestry of your company's strategic narrative. It's what the best CEOs in the business have mastered, and now, so can you.
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A former trial lawyer and prosecutor in Dallas, TX, Robbie trains founders to become world-class storytellers and venture capital fundraisers.
In barely two years, he's helped founders raise $575,000,000 of venture capital