Well, in 1997 the global creative firm Saatchi and Saatchi was bruised and almost demoralized when the founding brothers left the company. New CEO Kevin Roberts gathered 200 top leaders about what to do. None of that three-hour session was about numbers.
“It was all about ourselves … what we had to do,” Roberts said. It was about storytelling. It was about recalling heroic stories Roberts shared, based on his 25 years as a customer of the company. It was successful. It shown a light forward for a company that had lost its way.
But that was not the end. In that period of recovery, there were more visits, talking, listening. No budget meetings. No restructuring plans. No PPTs.
The focus was on imagination. Inspiration. Intuition. Story sharing and story listening. Sharing stories so people can identify with the story, “a good way to make relationships work,” without telling people what to do.
“Stories need to connect the past, present and future and link to a shared dream. Storytelling is about creating dreams, giving people what they never dreamt possible,” Roberts says, as told in “Wake Me Up When the Data is Over: How Organizations use Stories to Drive Results.”
From that adventure in story sharing and listening, the company rediscovered its spirit, and its many achievements. It was a company of 40 years of “Nothing is Impossible.”
The motto aided the company’s turnaround.
The company was transformed from a traditional advertising agency to an ideas company. As Roberts said, “Ideas are the currency of the future.”
Storytelling captured those ideas for Roberts’ team of more than 6,000 employees at Saatchi and Saatchi.