Published on: April 12, 2016by Michael Sansolo
If you are going to tell a story, tell it with some attitude.
That’s one of the first lines in Miles Ahead, the new movie about jazz legend Miles Davis.
Now truth be told, Miles Ahead isn’t a movie most people are going to embrace; it certainly doesn't fill us with warm feelings about Davis and the way he lived his life. Yet that line and many others uttered by Don Cheadle, who both directed and stars in the film, bring lots of wisdom for business.
For example, Davis provides a great example about not resting on one’s laurels or past achievements. In the film, Davis constantly rejects praise for some of his universally praised past albums because the past is past. Even as he is struggling with a dry period in his music, Davis is looking to what comes next.
Think about that: a man widely considered to have completely shattered boundaries in jazz talks constantly about what’s next, not what brought him fame. In fact, Davis even rejects being pigeon-holed as a jazz musician, saying labels are too confining.
But it’s his line about stories and attitude that should really get us thinking. Story telling is a huge mantra in business and leadership these days. In fact, it’s a huge part of what we talk about here in MNB and is the foundation of "The Big Picture: Essential Business Lessons from the Movies," the book Kevin and I wrote about using movies to tell better stories.
We firmly believe that everyone has a story to tell and how you tell that story motivates your team and connects with your customers. But the key is how you tell it.
Davis’ point is to tell it in your voice and with attitude so the world knows you are talking. The story is meaningless if it is told in a flat or uninteresting way.
Coincidentally, Fast Company recently ran an article about the death of the cover letter, the one page note we all once wrote and attached to resumes to impress recruiters. If you were like me, you agonized over those letters to make them perfect and, when I was in the position of hiring, I read them carefully to get a sense of any serious applicant.
And now they are gone, largely because most recruiting and applying is done on-line and the cover letter is unnecessary.
Fast Company reminds readers that absence of the letter doesn’t change the goal. An applicant still needs to stand out, to tell a story and do it with attitude. Now it is suggested that the resume must do that.
Bluntly put, your resume should open with your elevator speech to quickly convince the reader - someone you hope will hire you - to read on. Again, it’s all about storytelling with attitude.
I would argue that the same holds true for marketing any product, service or person. Find a way to tell the story clearly and do it in a way that no one else can. Make it special because there are so many stories out there that yours must stand out.
Kevin wrote a headline on MNB recently reminding us that "Special is as Special Does." Tell your story with attitude as to why you are special. Otherwise, no one is likely to listen.
Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org . His book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available on Amazon by clicking here. And, his book "Business Rules!" is available from Amazon by clicking here.
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