The power of a good story
Can the enduring admiration for Team New Zealand be attributed to a good story?
The America’s Cup victory was met by accolades regarding a plucky nation punching above its weight; a team that beat the billionaires in technical wizardry and sailing craft. We like David v Goliath type accomplishments where we’re a force for good and our smarts, pragmatism and pluckiness triumph over money.
The bones of Team New Zealand’s story were forged off the coast of Freemantle with ‘Plastic Fantastic’ in 1987 and built over numerous cup defeats to bigger budgets and controversial, at times publicly hated, yachting and business personalities.
Now though, Team New Zealand is a very well-resourced, well-organised elite performance machine, with decades of success.
It has withstood many high-profile accusations about mismanagement of public money, that would’ve sunk most organisations.
The public support for Team New Zealand thus owes as much to its powerful story as it does to the performance of its people.
There are 3 important Team New Zealand story telling lessons for businesses.
A powerful creation story:
The history, traditional and aspiration of creation stories are powerful attractors. They tell a compelling people-story of how the organisation came to be and, more importantly, that it comes from a desire to help your customer.
A competitor that’s more disliked than you:
Be the good guy, not the bad guy. Your competitor might not be as disliked as Dennis Connor, but the trick is not about being liked – rather it’s about being less disliked.
A charismatic leader:
A corporate’s personality is most often defined by its CEO. They are the ones that project the ethos, values and personality traits that people attach to companies. The leader doesn’t need to be personable, just available and acclaimed.