True story: when I was much younger I was known to tell a tale or two. They were usually rooted in reality, but I'd embellish the truth to make it more interesting. Like that story I'd tell about my trip to McSorley's in New York when I ran into John Lennon. We had a nice conversation. Except, he wasn't there. I thought of him, and he lived in New York at the time, but seriously was much more likely to be on the other side of town. Go figure.
How many times did I tell that tale? Maybe once or twice. Once to my best friend at the time. Did she believe me? Not if she knew me well enough...
How about you? Do your fish stories end up with bigger fish than you actually caught? Do you augment reality with some great tales?
I got a great gift last December from one of my good friends and fraternity brother, David Spiegel. It's a coffee mug with the saying "Keep telling the stories" written on it. I love it. I don't think that he meant "tell tales." I think he's encouraging us to remember the stories that brought us to life and keep bringing life to us years after they've past. And (more importantly) to keep telling NEW stories of the new adventures we are creating.
Because who knows how long any of us has?
When it comes to leadership, tell your team the truth. Stories are inspiring, and most useful when they are based on truth. I suspect that none of us knows the complete, unfiltered truth. The best we can do is stop adding our own filters. Tell your truth.
The best story is no match for the truth.
So do tell the stories. And, if you want to, make the fish as big as you want. Just give me a wink so that I'll know...
-- Doug Smith