I was struck by an excerpt from a Don Hewitt speech he gave talking about the success formula for 60 Minutes. He said it was a formula that every six-year old understood - "Tell Me A Story." While this concept is certainly not new to me (I've been evangelizing it for years), what struck me was its simplicity and how well 60 Minutes has delivered on that philosophy for more than 40 years.
I've become even more aware of just how rare businesses tell stories, and how little time they spend articulating their story. Today, I was discussing the issue with a CEO friend of mine. He tends to be more operationally-oriented than I am, and often, finds his company stuck between the investments he's made in improving the company and the acceptance he's getting from the market (as measured by revenue growth, margin growth and profit growth). My advice to him was, "The best operation doesn't win - the best story does. So if it ever comes down to a choice between investing in making the story better or investing in making the operation better, make the story better." This doesn't mean that you don't need to invest in improving your operations (YOU DO!), it just means that you should never let improving your operation get in the way of making your story better.