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  • Writer's pictureRain Bennett

Shape a Successful Company Culture by Telling The Perfect Story with Karen Eber


Do you want to create a thriving company culture that leads to maximum productivity and efficiency? Are you seeking a solution to shape a positive work environment that drives success? Look no further!

Karen Eber is an author, consultant, keynote speaker, and thought leader on organizational culture. Having honed her skills in psychology, Karen took her insight to the business world, accelerating learning and performance in formidable companies such as HP and Deloitte. Deeply passionate about creating dialogues and connections at the workplace, her love for storytelling has become a compass guiding her career in leadership development. With wisdom culled from her personal life experiences and professional journey, her perspectives on work culture remain profound, inspiring, and full of humanity.


In this episode, you will learn how to:

  • Understand the transformative power of narratives in molding the essence of an organization and its efficiency.

  • Lean on the pivotal role of open dialogue and psychological assurance in creating a highly effective workforce.

  • Recognize the importance of laying a positivity-centric cultural foundation right from the outset.

  • Explore how personal stories engulfing professional experiences can instill authenticity and add dimension to official interactions.

  • Leverage the intriguing relationship between brain science and storytelling, and how to refine your narrative techniques for maximum impact.


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Rain Bennett and Kayley Hamilton, former celebrity reporter and PR expert, on The Storytelling Lab podcast.

Once upon a time, Karen Eber, a young girl with one brown eye and one green eye, spun a tale that changed her life forever.


Frustrated by the constant queries about her eyes, she creatively narrated how eating green crayons had caused this transformation.


This playful lie did more than amuse her listeners. It broke the ice, turned awkward conversations into laughter-filled moments and, most importantly, it taught Karen the power of storytelling.


Years later, she found herself in positions of leadership, trying to shape organizational cultures across businesses.


She remembered the magic of her crayon story and used it to influence, inspire, and constructively challenge her teams. She discovered that stories could help her connect with her audience on a deeper level, making them more receptive to her ideas and initiatives.


Storytelling became her secret tool, enabling her to shape cultures that not only drove performance but nurtured a sense of belonging and purpose.


And now, her much-anticipated debut book, The Perfect Story, has a single green crayon on the cover.



In this conversation, she shows us how to:

  • Revel in the driving force of storytelling in shaping company culture for optimum performance.

  • Uncover the untapped potential of fostering an atmosphere of psychological safety and trust in boosting productivity.

  • Grasp the necessity of early focus on a positive culture, even in the initial growth stages of your organization.

  • Delve into the impact of personal narratives in professional settings, lending an authentic and diverse touch to business communication.

  • Decode the connection between story-telling and neuroscience, and how to enhance storytelling methods accordingly.



Shape a Positive Culture for Maximum Productivity and Efficiency

In any organization, fostering a positive and healthy culture is tantamount to fueling productivity and efficiency.


It’s not as straightforward as having motivated individuals or sophisticated tech. It begins at the foundational level – the culture that's nurtured intentionally. Every element from open communication, and recognition of individual strengths, to purposeful activities, forms the framework of the company culture.


A positive culture goes beyond surface-level camaraderie – it deeply influences company functionality. Recognizing the culture’s impact on employees' work style, attitude, and overall performance will result in a cycle of positivity and efficiency.

Kayley Hamilton from Kayley Media

Embracing Individual Strengths for Success

In a company’s ethos, understanding and capitalizing on the individual strengths of employees is a key to success.


Every individual brings unique skills and perspectives that can be utilized to add value to the overall objectives.


Encouraging individuality rather than promoting uniformity will strengthen the team's dynamics and foster a healthy competitive atmosphere. By harnessing the collective strengths of the team, organizations can achieve common objectives and strengthen their competitive advantage.


In this episode, Karen brought up the unique training of the Navy SEALS to illustrate this concept. It’s about how each individual, with their unique set of skills and strengths, contributes to the outcome - it's not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. This analogy couldn’t be more accurate for businesses, illustrating that the key to success lies in nurturing and leveraging individual strengths



The Importance of Culture for the Bottom Line

Performance metrics, while undeniably important, are not the only aspects that contribute to a company's bottom line.


A positive organizational culture plays an equally significant role. A strong, healthy culture acts as a magnetic force, attracting top talent while encouraging existing talent to stay.


This strong sense of unity and common understanding enhances communication and improves cooperation among team members, which likely boosts productivity and, by extension, the company's bottom line.


Think about Karen Eber's childhood story about her differently-colored eyes. It wasn't simply a tale of childhood experiences; it subtly emphasized the power of unique storytelling and the positive culture it can foster.


She used an innovative approach to explain her peculiar eye color and this highlighted the role of creativity and openness in building a constructive company culture. Positioning it appropriately, Karen showcased how building a culture that embraces diverse experiences and perspectives contributes to the overall profitability and success of a company.


"In work, I was in roles of head of leadership development, head of organizational culture. And in these places where the employees that fell in the businesses I was supporting were like, 90,000 employees in 150 countries. And organizational culture doesn't change or evolve or shape unless a person thinks about, what does this mean for me and what do I want to do? I found stories were such a great way to connect with people that you could never see in front of you and you could never touch and have them get these experiences that were much more dynamic than just values and think about what to do." - Karen Eber

Kayley Hamilton of Kayley Media teaches small brands how to have big name success in PR.

If you need to make changes in how you lead and organize your team around its mission, this is the episode for you!

Loved this episode? Leave us a review and rating here:



 

Some of the highlights of our conversation:


  • 00:01:47 - Karen's Background in Organizational Culture

  • 00:05:27 - The Importance of Culture for the Bottom Line

  • 00:07:30 - When to Start Transforming Culture in a Startup

  • 00:09:29 - Karen's Journey with Storytelling

  • 00:13:27 - The Importance of Audience-Centric Storytelling

  • 00:15:32 - Storytelling as a Communication Tool

  • 00:18:16 - Embracing Individual Strengths for Success

  • 00:19:32 - Personal Stories in a Professional Environment

  • 00:21:58 - The Journey to Spreading the Gospel of Storytelling

  • 00:27:30 - The Power of Storytelling

  • 00:28:22 - Immersion Neuroscience

  • 00:31:55 - The Limitations of the Hero's Journey

  • 00:35:13 - Simple Storytelling Structures

  • 00:38:31 - Evolving the Storytelling Conversation

  • 00:40:46 - The Brain's Factory Settings

  • 00:42:43 - The Library of Files

  • 00:44:27 - "In Groups" and "Out Groups"

  • 00:46:09 - Neural Chemical Cocktail

  • 00:47:56 - Simplifying Science


As always, I hope you enjoy the episode!


Peace and Love,

Rain

 

Follow Karen on:



Or visit her website HERE!




For more storytelling tips and tricks,


Visit my website rainbennett.com, or

Follow me on TikTok @rainbennett_storycoach

Follow me on Twitter @rainbennett

Follow me on Instagram @rainbennett

Follow me on Facebook @thestorytellinglab

Subscribe to my Youtube Channel




The resources mentioned in this episode are:


  • Check out Karen's upcoming book, The Perfect Story, which we discussed in the episode. (Remember the story of the green crayon on the cover??)

  • Watch Karen's viral TEDx Talk

  • Consider implementing daily or weekly stand-up meetings in your own team or organization. This can help create a culture of open communication and feedback.

  • Start implementing the habit of asking three questions in your team meetings: What's working, what's not working, and what is one thing we should stop doing?

  • Encourage leaders to ask their team members, What is something I need to hear but don't want to hear? This can foster a culture of honesty and open dialogue.

  • Reflect on the energy in your workplace. Are team members spending their energy on managing day-to-day issues or on the actual work? Consider ways to create a culture where energy is focused on the work itself.

  • Start telling stories to connect with people on a deeper level. Think about personal anecdotes or engaging narratives that can bring people together and create memorable experiences.



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