Storytelling skills transform Microsoft leaders’ outlook, boosting team motivation and growing sales.
The story begins
Amplify had already been working with Microsoft’s mobile devices teams, running a series of storytelling workshops for the groups selling the Windows phone and Windows 10 – a fun and varied challenge which saw us coaching everywhere from Dubai and India to South Africa and Brazil.
Tales of how much the teams loved these workshops, and of the positive changes in their everyday work, reached all the way to the ears at the top – and they asked Amplify to run their leadership team strategy day for all the global heads of their mobile devices teams. The London session was designed to help the leaders better inspire people, enthuse their teams, and ultimately grow their sales.
It would be easy to be daunted by a room full of 25 busy, jetlagged bigwigs – but we embraced the opportunity to help them unlock the kind of creativity usually stifled by stuffy corporate strategy days!
All their laptops and phones got put away and they had to come out from behind their tables, as we pushed them away from analysing numbers and pulled them towards understanding how their customers engaged with the Microsoft story.
Our activities ranged from group exercises where they had to work together to tell a children’s story – first in three minutes, then thirty seconds, then one sentence, which brought amazing clarity to their thinking – to shouting storytelling matches which forced them to compete and find ways to stand out. The energy and laughter in the room was amazing.
Then it was about bringing that energy and passion into the story of Microsoft, anchoring it in the powerful messages they wanted to share about their products. This led into working on a number of presentation techniques, including posture, breathing, projection, etc, and exercises to help the leaders make this stuff stick long term.
Helping them to see stories not as something frivolous but as a commercially viable tool, as the key to bringing money in the door, was a huge breakthrough – so many of the leaders fed back to us how dramatically that changed their approach to the goals of their department and how they should be working.
The day also gave them some great practical presentation skills for inspiring and energising people about the Microsoft story, both internally and for their potential customers.
“As you can imagine, bringing a global team together requires considerable time and expense – so the time we give to any activity during those meetings is very precious. I can genuinely say that our investment with Amplify has delivered very tangible benefits to the business. They partnered with us to share the new Microsoft story in a way that makes it relevant for our customers, bringing out the individual personalities of everyone in the room and ultimately leading to a very coherent, authentic, and powerful narrative for Microsoft. It was a highly effective workshop and brought insights that we still use in our work every day.”
Scott Gaines, former Worldwide Head of Sales & Marketing Cap at Microsoft