Sangeeth Varghese has a good post over at Forbes.com about the importance of storytelling for leaders. Here's an excerpt:
"Many top executives, trained at conventional business schools, eschew storytelling and stick to a tight-jacketed professional approach. They lay out their vision, goals and results using data points, graphs, Excel sheets and PowerPoint slides. They transform the boardroom into a bored room. Not that numbers and charts are unnecessary, of course--what would happen if salespeople never mentioned numbers? But storytelling can be the most powerful way for a chief executive to sketch a vision and align people behind it. Explanatory talk and statistics appeal to the intellect, but people aren't inspired by reason alone. Compelling stories convey loads of information while also appealing to our emotions, ensuring that we not only listen, but get engaged and inspired."
Several years ago, Gordon Shaw, Robert Brown, and Philip Bromiley wrote an interesting Harvard Business Review piece about strategic planning at 3M. In that article, they explained how stories can be used to convey a strategy quite effectively. For those who are interested, here's the link to obtain that article.