Tell Me A Good Story

When we work in an area like knowledge management that is hard to reduce to useful numbers, it can be challenging to prove ROI for the bean counters. In fact, some would argue that numbers can never tell the whole story regarding a knowledge management initiative. So what works better? Find your success stories and tell them until you are blue in the face.

When thinking about what makes an effective success story, consider the advice of Dan Heath (author of Made to Stick) as he talks about Subway’s fantastic “Jared” advertising campaign in the following Fast Company video clip.  As you may remember, Jared was the poster boy for losing astonishing amounts of weight while eating fast food. Heath uses this campaign to remind us of the three key attributes of an effective story:

  • Concreteness
  • Unexpectedness
  • Emotional Impact

So how do you make this work for you?  First, think about what has improved in your firm thanks to KM. Next, find specific success stories relating to that improvement that are concrete, surprising and have emotional impact.  Then get out there and tell your story.  If enough folks listen, you won’t need to worry quite so much about the bean counters.

[Photo Credit:  Loren Javier]