A message from above

On Wednesday evening – a hot balmy evening, one of the warmest of the year so far – I was walking with my wife towards my daughter’s school to watch her in a production of Oliver.    We were 100m from the school gates when I felt something brush past my head and land on my shoulder from the overhanging oak tree above.  Thinking it was a falling acorn I went to brush it off my shoulder.  That’s when I realised it wasn’t an acorn.   It was wet, muddy, smelly … and all over my nice white t-shirt.   It was a direct hit from a magpie in the tree above.    What’s more, it was in my hair.  I mean splattered all over the side of my head.   And now, because of my attempts to brush it off, it was all over my hands too.    I was well prepared to see the funny side (as could my wife it seems).  I was also quite impressed with the superb accuracy of the magpie (a bird I’ve never liked but credit where credit’s due on this occasion).    So why am I telling you this, what’s it got to do with anything?  Nothing, it’s just a story.   Storytelling is a deep-seated human behaviour but we tend to lose the ability and willingness to tell stories when we come to work.   Stories create cultures, engagement and interaction.    I think every work meeting should begin not with introductions but with stories, about anything.   Forget telling me your name, what job you do and how long you’ve been doing it.  Tell me a story that gives me an insight into who you are.  Something I’ll remember.