There were 300 of us seated around tables in a room lit by brilliant sunlight that streamed through the floor to ceiling glass wall. The NCAA headquarters is a beautiful building and a marvelous venue for FirstPerson’s annual RESOLVE conference. The room was absolutely silent but for a stylishly dressed woman who stood on the floral decorated dais. Her black pumps had pearl-studded heels. Her presentation was studded with gems.
She began to tell her story. An Indiana born-and-bred farm kid, her parents gave her the footings of tradition, compassion, and independence. Linda learned the value of honest hard work, and how to see the larger picture through smaller tasks completed well. Planting seeds, feeding chickens – seemingly ordinary efforts – led to vast crops and enough eggs to feed her community.
Linda Glass went from rural Indiana to DePauw University, and ultimately to positions of leadership in vastly successful companies. She has never lost sight of her story. In fact, she has used the power of story to help companies create community that lives out their purpose and values. Powerful stuff, especially when you learn that Linda has strengthened Starbucks, and now Nordstrom, which is well-known for taking care of their customers and their own teams.
The power of story resides in us all. We all have personal software that starts with our story. It is hard-wired into our operating system, it creates the platform from which we view our world. That software is coded by our early environment, the people who loved and impacted and influenced us, and the experiences that shaped us.
As a leader – whether at home, at work, or in your community – I challenge you to consider: What is your personal software? How are you wired, and what is the story you can tell? How does it drive your values and purpose?
I’m learning to ask for the stories that shape the people of FirstPerson. Because after all, its those stories that ultimately impact our culture. As Linda said, “The culture is the heart of your business. Use your head and your heart.”
This was post was written by FirstPerson CEO & Founder, Bryan Brenner on May 23, 2017. Find out more at BryanBrenner.com.