Charles Collier recently told Peter Guber the story he used to motivate his employees when he became President of AMC, the network that produced the long-running television series Shoot-Out, which Guber co-hosted with Peter Bart.
Collier wanted to take the cable network in a new direction that would include edgy original shows like Mad Men, as well as its established slate of old movies, but he had a problem. Many of his employees had a disengaged punching-the-clock approach toward work. If he didn’t change the auto pilot attitude of his people he’d never change the aptitude of the organization. So he told them a very simple story about how he used to just punch in and out as a kid when his parents made him take piano lessons. Hours passed as he doodled with his fingers. He was there but wasn’t there — he never mentally showed up. Years later he realized how much that cost him in experience and time. He wasted that chance to become skilled enough to really enjoy playing music, and he never got those hours back. But he could still learn from that loss.
He could change. Now he made it a point to show up — not just physically but also emotionally. If he didn’t, he told his employees, he knew he’d be the loser. And if his employees didn’t change their ways, Collier’s story implied, both their jobs and AMC’s survival would be up for grabs. Collier understood that “story matters.”
MORE ABOUT TELL TO WIN
To validate the power of telling purposeful stories, Guber includes in this book a remarkably diverse number of ‘voices’ – master tellers with whom he’s shared experiences. They include YouTube founder Chad Hurley, NBA champion Pat Riley, clothing designer Norma Kamali, “Mission to Mars” scientist Gentry Lee, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, former South African president Nelson Mandela, magician David Copperfield, film director Steven Spielberg, novelist Nora Roberts, rock legend Gene Simmons, and physician and author Deepak Chopra.
After listening to this extraordinary mix of voices, you’ll know how to craft, deliver – and own – a story that is truly compelling, one capable of turning others into viral advocates for your goal.