Join Pat Wadors for an in-depth discussion in this video Use storytelling to backup the facts, part of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging.
- So when I introduced the thought of DIBS or belonging, it was an interesting conversation. I don't think it was naturally, you're going to add something else to this very complex landscape called DNI, like why would you do that? And then I talked about that sense of belonging in the community and if you're in the minority in any shape or form, you're looking for proof points that not only can I survive there, but I can thrive there. And these moments of uncertainty happen to every human being around the world.
It happens when you moved cities, when you changed jobs, when you go to college for the first time, you hope you're wildly successful and you make friends. I mean we all have that moment and the studies show, there's a professor name Greg Walton at Stanford that's been working on this for over decades. So this is nothing I've invented, this is stuff that's been around. And he said you're genetically wired to belong to a community, that's how the human species have evolved and survived and dominated the planet.
I mean coming together in unique ways is what made us as a community strong. Introverts and extroverts, hunters and gatherers. I mean you name it, this diversity of who we are makes us stronger as a village, as a tribe, as a community. But it also comes with some challenges. If you're a very mobile workforce, if you don't stay in a community long enough, how do you get the roots into the town that you live and at the job that you're at? And Greg Walton said the power of taking this moment of uncertainty when you join a university is through storytelling.
It's showing someone like me if I am dyslexic, that there are other people with learning differences at company X or univiverty Y and people went out of their way to help you learn. And where there's a tutoring club or you get mentor or a buddy, and this is how they navigate and this is how they flourished. And also my anxiety from a 10 goes to maybe a seven and then I actually talk to the people and it goes to a five and then I'm in it. And professor Walton discovered that when you share these stories that this uncertainty to certainty shortens.
So if you apply that to business, it's the time it takes you and I to get to productivity at work. You're a new hire, what I care is how fast you ramp up. It's not you're actual skills because I hired you for certain things. But when you rock your swag, when do you get so comfortable you can with bright eyes go, "We can do it better this way." Or "What about this great idea?" You have, you're fearless. That's what you get with that core sense of belonging and you want that sooner than later. You want people to feel like they are bonded to a company, to a team.
And then you have longevity, retention of an employee. Those are valuable things for a company. And by storytelling, you can shorten that uncertainty moment. I can get to productivity and joy quicker. And if I get there faster and better, then I'm going to tell my friends and the recruiting pipeline just goes wooooh, wide open. So from a business outlook, application, there's so many things about belonging that for me now, duh, why this is what you should be talking about. And through belonging, you get these wonderful acts of inclusion and you get the diversity that you're seeking.
So I think it's a business must do. So when I look at the research, so after I talked and produced DIBS, and Greg Walton's research and the power of story. Because I have a little bit of an Irish background, I love the story and it drives communities and you discover that generations have passed traditions through storytelling. So storytelling is part of who we are as a human species as well. And then I discovered a social economist, gentlemen named Paul Nack and Paul Nack also speaks about the power of storytelling.
And storytelling releases chemicals in our brains to make us more compassionate, empathetic to the other human across the wall and says what was there experience. If you're telling the story about the damsel in distress, or the hero, or the person suffering, if you tell the story from beginning, middle, and end, you draw that human compassion through and you bonded those people together. If it's a real personal story and the more vulnerable you are, the tighter the community becomes. And so what we're striving to do is create moments where our employees share their belonging moment.
And we had a young man come into the office this past year and he asked his team, "Can I say dope at work? "This is my terminology at home, is that appropriate, "can I say 'that's dope?'" And they were like "Yeah, what else do you say "and can you wear your hair natural, "I wear it this way on the weekend. "As in you know, black female, and on Sunday I'm trying to straighten it for work on Monday. "Do I have to do that, can I wear it natural, "can I wear my braids or is that going to be deemed not corporate, not professionally? "No I love your hair, it's gorgeous." Like rock who you are because that doesn't tell me what your IQ is, rocking who you are tells me how creative and beautiful and amazing you are.
And when you shed all this other stuff and you tell me who you are through your stories, the trust goes up, compassion, I won't let you fail, you bond the team together, they do amazing things and you stop with this group think. We combine our unique voices together to make something better by having had differences of opinion and that unlocks magic. So storytelling is an underrated amazing tool that I think every human being should explore more.