Tag Archives: Storytelling

black and red typewriter

Storytelling: Internal Team Value and Impact

Around the time I was publishing my most recent article on storytelling, an acquaintance of mine was submitting a LinkedIn post with a request for examples of internal promotion stories.

I glommed on to a few details she shared in the conversation thread:

Sell the value of your team

The first was where she was “wondering how an internal team’s story can be told so that others can tell it again and sell that team’s services”. My immediate thought (as a technology consultant) was SharePoint team sites or pages. Something our community has preached for years – having a SharePoint site or page for each team so they could easily, clearly, and publicly (internal) share what their team does, who they are, how to reach them, and potentially share current and ongoing success stories. It’s not necessarily having the story to pass on as much as it is having an easy place to point folks to see the story themselves (make it part of their team’s marketing, links in email signatures, etc.).

(Edit/Note: I realize her “how” is more about how to construct a story effectively than it was about logistics or technology… I will cover more on the story writing in the follow-up post.)

As internal team functional sites shift from the SharePoint experience to the Teams experience (on the surface, SharePoint is still the engine behind Teams), teams still need (IMO) a company-facing surface to tell their story, hence the separate page or site.

The ongoing success stories part has a bit more wiggle room. There are a number of ways to facilitate this with technology. A while back it might have been done within that SharePoint site with a list, web parts, etc. For a while it might have been telling stories via Yammer. Now it might involve Viva as part of the story gathering, promotion, and distribution efforts – maybe with some Power Automate to facilitate an approval process, etc. Lots of options.

Regardless of the technology however, the organization needs to train itself to *capture* those successes and tell those stories effectively. While implementing technology can be fairly straightforward, changing the mindset, priorities, and culture are a LOT harder. (More on this in another post…)

Share the impact of your team

The second quote also struck a chord: Wanting to make the case that “clients of the storytellers … wouldn’t go without UX again”. “UX” is a specific example here, but the concept can apply to all sorts of services. The “can’t do without” subject approach is super compelling in a “what we offer” from our services sort of way. It’s so important to not just tell what your team does and how it does it, but that others – your customers (even if internally) – had such a great experience working with you that they would make it a point of not going it alone in the future when they’re doing something similar.

e.g., Why would I write my own training docs if I could work with the training team that does it every day and has built a team around writing and training. It might be a secondary (or even strong) skill for my team, but it’s their team’s primary focus. They are better at this than we are. They can apply branding and consistency where that might be an extra effort for us. We can focus on *our* primary goal of delivering this platform, product, feature, whatever…

Technology Bias and Action

My bias is towards using a technology solution as at least part of a solution – when it fits – and usually something that’s part of the Microsoft stack as that’s been my area of operation for many years. Some of these approaches could likely be implemented with other products as well depending on what your organization is invested in.

The rest of the solution will be people focused. It could be in policies, practices, habits, or company culture.


Often neglected in these storytelling examples are the tools, skills, knowledge, and/or experience that were necessary to build and deliver the successful effort. Personally, I think it’s relevant but that’s because of the context I’m thinking in – specifically around roles, technology skills, upskilling and skill gap filling. Important, I think, but only urgent at the time you actually need those skills or solutions to replicate something or build something of your own.

Other Tagging

The skills or roles mentioned above could from one perspective be a form of tagging for your content. One taxonomy used to tag or assign context to the story. There are others though. Depending on what makes sense in your organization there might be other keywords to categorize a story. Ultimately, you want folks to find the content when they’re looking for it. Tags of any sort will help with search, with AI-based targeting, or even manually browsing. It’s important to capture tags when you’re able and have the systems configured to filter and return results on them.


These are just a few examples of the value of storytelling within an organization. There are countless others, but the value only comes by capturing, curating, and sharing them. Otherwise, the wins go uncelebrated and the gains in reproducing them or learning from their lessons are lost.

Writing and telling stories (well) is worth the time investment.
(Just don’t admit that to my high school English teachers…)

Storytelling and Context

Storytelling has been around a long time. From cave drawings, oral histories, and ancient texts to newspapers, television, and social media. It’s relevant in so many ways because the context works in our lives, in business, in community, and more. It’s been around for so long in various forms because it’s effective – because people identify with it and understand the context.

Just the other day my wife shared a book recommendation: Weekend Language: Presenting with More Stories and Less PowerPoint. And there is a LOT of storytelling chatter out there in a variety of contexts: in business, for startups, when talking about communication essentials, and more. For books alone, see the headline image above for just a few examples I pulled off my shelf.

When putting together new presentations and slide decks, we often gather a bunch of facts and info on the list of what we want to cover. But then we step back to look at how we can tell a story with all the information. We want the content to tell a story because the information makes more sense in a context (one or more). It must include context to be relevant. It needs a person, a subject, for folks to relate to how and why the information and data is relevant to them. Don’t just tell us about a new feature. Tell us who will find that new thing valuable and why it’s important to our organization. Presentation content sticks better when attendees understand what good comes from using these new nuggets of knowledge and what risks they take on by ignoring the info.

Storytelling examples in community

There are all sorts of ways that storytelling shows up in our businesses and communities. Here are a few that stand out for me when I think about contexts I often encounter:

Internal organizational example sharing. These often occur at internal user group, lunch and learn sessions, and the like. The context here is easy because it’s folks at the same company typically using similar tools and software. They’re giving a quick 10-minute ‘ish blurb on something they’ve done, built, used, or what have you and why it was successful for them. In that context there are often others that can identify with that success and extend the solution for their own department or group. It’s an easy win, an easy way to multiply ROI, and boosts morale within the org when folks see the value others bring to the table. When I’ve seen and done it myself, it usually generates excitement when folks see an example and immediately want to use it on their team. Great stuff.

The other example I see in the conference event setting is case studies. These are very often some of the most popular and well-attended sessions. It’s commonly the story of how one organization configured, used, and/or built solutions with a particular set of tools. They tell the story of who identified the problem, methods they tried, tools and what they did to skill up to use them, maybe some stumbles along the way, and then what they finally built or used and why it was a success for them. They tell it in a way that other orgs can relate, in ways other teams can understand how to extend their success to deliver success for others. What a wonderful way to build communities between organizations as well.

Startups and skills

Storytelling is rampant throughout the startup world. There are personalities, apps and services, books, and more all talking about it or pitching ways they can help you be a better storyteller. Again, it makes sense. Pitching products is often telling stories about common problems folks face and showing how their product addresses those challenges. Telling those stories effectively is critical.

Not everyone has the innate skills to tell stories well. Sometimes it seems like a natural skill that someone has. Sometimes it’s a learned skill. For a while, we saw a rush of “evangelist” roles within the technical community. These were folks that had storytelling skills and were advocating for specific tools and approaches to business issues. While that role title seems to have waned, we’re now seeing roles like “Digital Storyteller”. Organizations have identified the need for storytelling, in a variety of contexts, that show the need for skills creating content and conveying stories.

As if we needed another reminder of the importance of soft skills in addition to all the tech skills we’re required to have these days. 🙂

The Flip Side

Like anything else, there’s the not-great side of storytelling as well. There are plenty of folks that haven’t honed their skills quite yet. Some are still learning and will improve with time and effort. Then there are folks that took a wrong turn somewhere along the path and need to make corrections. There are the buzzword-bingo slinging folks that think they’re offering value but are really just talking, often with little substance. We run across them everywhere. In many cases folks can see right through it, but they continue to take up bandwidth all the same. Be nice, give them the constructive feedback when you can. The battle continues…