Will Wright, famous game designer of the Sims and Spore, urgently needed a plan to attract and retain top creative talent to his new entertainment think tank. Success required changing the mindset of these individuals who didn’t believe a place existed where they could participate in the creative and entrepreneurial fields around and from the games they designed such as movies, TV, videos, print, internet, books and new media and not be pigeon-holed as just game designers.
So he resorted to telling his story as how he saw their opportunity through a metaphor. In this case, the metaphor was Switzerland. Will explained to my UCLA graduate students that the creatives he sought were used to working at large companies whose siloed ways of working stifled them.
Wright’s challenge was to reverse that thinking and prove that he was creating a land where boundaries between fields like television, film, games, and toys didn’t exist, a neutral land where their imagination could run free.
“These large companies are designed as single purpose intellectual property generators and then, perhaps if an innovation occurs, it will migrate to other disciplines without their further participation. This makes most creative people feel like they have to fill one of these pigeon-holes and there is no position where they can be involved in all of them.”
Wright’s challenge was to reverse that thinking and prove that he was creating a land where boundaries between fields like television, film, games, and toys didn’t exist, a neutral land where their imagination could run free. So he told prospects that what he really wanted to do was create intellectual property in neutral Switzerland. “Then we’d take that thing out of Switzerland with them participating in all the different areas so no one media would fall subservient to another.” Immediately the talent got it and was thrilled to come onboard.
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.