Want to know how to build relational trust? Learn more about each other. Learn it through simple questions that can be tucked into the doing of work, creating workplaces that not only employ people but honor the soul in the process.”

Parker Palmer

Storytelling is one of the most important pattern languages because it furthers both connection and meaning simultaneously.

In an organizational context, we often neglect story because it is imprecise. The essence of story cannot be translated into a spreadsheet.

The importance of storytelling is that it engages both the heart and mind, which is another reason many organizations are not adept at sharing and listening to stories. As soon as we move from data to narratives, emotions enter the picture.

Market research does not value stories in themselves if the intention within the research is to extract knowledge rather than be in relationship. If we’re trying to develop “the right story” or “the right product” rather than listen to the whole person or community, it becomes an exercise in data collection rather than storytelling. John Hagel makes an important distinction that while stories are crafted, narratives are open-ended – the outcome is unresolved, yet to be determined. Narrative building requires an ongoing relationship and conversation, not a single survey or conversation behind a one-way mirror.

The future of marketing and employee engagement will be addressed through narratives – sharing, listening, curating, and responding. Organizations that develop these practices will be more related, with strong bonds internally and to customers.

Canopy Gap works with clients to use storytelling as a means to building purpose, trust, and flow throughout your organization’s ecosystem.