Tell me a story please….

Who is the protagonist and what is a denouement?

You are thinking UGH. Whiteboard is like a corrupted MP4 file. (I thought record player would be out of date) – all they ever talk about is telling a story through data. I get it already – you talked about it less than a month ago here.

Well, there’s always more to learn! Recently we were teaching a data course for one of our clients, and one of the participants brilliantly asked us:

“You keep saying tell the story – but what’s in the story? What makes a good story and a bad one? What components do we need?”. Hmm. Good point. Luckily I think fast on my feet. I gave Ruth an “I’ve got this” look and ran over to a whiteboard and started mapping something out.

We often say that when presenting a change or new idea, our peers, senior leaders, or employees aren’t at the same “place” that we are. What we mean is we have done all the thinking, analyzing, and planning before we present to others. But those others are completely in the dark! They haven’t had time to process yet! Do you have continuous improvement project, operational excellence initiative, organizational design change, or a project that’s changed scope or timing suddenly, and have to tell the story?

Read on for the key components to telling a good business story (using data of course).

It’s all about the drama.

5 steps to telling a good business story

1. Setting
What is the context for your story? Where did the idea come from? What has happened in the past? What has happened so far?

2. Characters
Who are all the players? What are all the data pieces? Can each “data character” tell a story through their own lens?

3. An event
What triggered things to change? What was the turning point that identified the need for change in a process, project, or organizational culture?

4. The Climax
What will happen if we don’t change? What is your burning platform?

5. The Ending
What will things looks like in the future? What is your future vision – an ideal state of how the project ends, the process improves, or the organizational design improves the efficacy of your workplace?

Simple as that. Do you have a business story? Share it with us! Give us a shout via Twitter @whiteboardcons using #betterfastercheaper or email us at

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Until next week!