Saul Kaplan: Where Have All The Corporate Stories Gone?
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
Each year over 500 innovation junkies from around the world convene to celebrate what we at BIF call, enabling random collisions of unusual suspects. The BIF community of innovation junkies loves transformation stories from across every imaginable societal silo. The more eclectic the mix of stories the more learning, engaging and doing. We find the best value creating opportunities emerge from the grey areas between our sectors, silos and disciplines. The most memorable and inspiring stories at the BIF Summit always come from the least expected people and places. A typical session at a BIF Summit sounds like the start of a bad joke with stories from a rabbi, police chief, corporate leader and a 10 year-old prodigy!
When I say transformation stories I don’t mean stories about transforming when there is no other choice. I mean transforming when there is a choice. Transforming even when every societal, organizational and human fiber in our bones warns us to be fearful of the unknown. Transforming because it’s the only way to stay relevant and to make a difference in the world.Transforming because tweaks aren’t enough to realize the full potential of the 21st century. Those are the stories that inspire us at BIF. We’ve had over 300 storytellers at our summits over ten years. Every year it’s the same. We have trouble finding enough corporate transformation stories and storytellers.
Last year we had Guy Wollaert, Chief Technology Officer Coca Cola Company, as a storyteller. He was great. Guy was candid during our pre-summit prep conversations admitting that he didn’t know what he had gotten himself into when agreeing to be a storyteller. He quickly grasped that we were not looking for his standard Power Point presentation. Guy loved the challenge and rose to it sharing a compelling story about Coca Cola’s attempts to introduce innovation and entrepreneurship into a huge enterprise. He was genuine, honest and well received. Guy retired from the company shortly after last year’s summit and assures me his foray into storytelling at BIF wasn’t the reason! In my experience there are far too few senior corporate executives from big companies who have and can share inspiring transformation stories.
Here are 10 reasons corporate transformation stories are hard to find:
1) Looking for transformation stories in large companies is like finding a needle in a haystack of stories about tweaks.
2) Transformation stories are for the next CEO.
3) Executives are constrained by corporate communications and prevented from sharing real stories. Just asking for permission is too painful.
4) In big companies learning and working out loud with anyone outside of the company is fine as long as employees don’t share anything work related without permission.
5) Executives aren’t comfortable coming off-script to share real stories. Let’s be honest most external corporate presentations are commercials not stories.
6) Executives are far too removed from the real story to share it in a personal and inspiring way.
7) Inspiring stories convey both struggles and success. Corporations don’t like talking about struggles and vulnerabilities.
8) Line item extensions or a new enterprise IT system aren’t transformation stories.
9) Big companies don’t like to share real stories. The competition might eavesdrop!
10) Big companies still think storytelling is about centralized marketing and communications functions.
Whatever the mix of reasons, a dearth of corporate transformation stories is bad news for all of us. It’s the symptom of a much bigger problem. Organizations of all kinds are more vulnerable every day to being, netflixed or uberized, obliterated by an upstart business model. The new strategic imperative is R&D for transformational business models. Leaders must make it safer and easier to explore and test new business models, even disruptive ones.We live in an era that screams for transformation and the best we seem capable of is tweaks.We need more compelling corporate transformation stories. We also need more compelling corporate storytelling. A new generation of consumers and employees has arrived on the scene and they don’t receive or relate to information the way companies currently communicate it. We relate to stories. We emotionally connect to stories. We only engage in transformation when we see ourselves in the story and can actively participate in it.
A good corporate transformation story shouldn’t be so hard to find.
Related Slideshow: RI Business Rankings in US
See how Rhode Island stacked up.
Rhode Island has 2015's eighth highest insurance premium penalties for high risk drivers, according to a WalletHub report.
Rhode Island ranks fifth overall in the category of speeding over 20 mph annual premium increase at $482. While ranking third overall in the category of 2 accidents annual premium increase at $2,721.
Rhode Island ranks ninth overall under the reckless driving annual premium increase at $749.
Rhode Island has been ranked as the 8th most eco-friendly state in the country, according to a recent study by WalletHub.
Rhode Island ranks third in environmental quality and 16th in Eco-Friendly Behaviors Ran landing them in 8th overall.
RI is behind Washington and New Hampshire who are in the six and seven spots respectively, and in front of Connecticut and Hawaii who come in at the nine and ten spot.
Rhode Island is 2015's 4th Worst State to be a taxpayer, according to a recent WalletHub report.
Rhode Island ranks 48th of 51 with an average state and local tax price of $7,159 which is good for a 27% difference from the national average.
The states that are directly behind Rhode Island are Wisconsin at $7,159, Nebraska at $7,298 and Illinois at $7,719 for a 37% difference from the national average.
Rhode Island has the highest vehicle property taxes in the country, paying an average of $1,133 according to a report from WalletHub.
Virginia and Kansas are the two states just ahead of Rhode Island in the 49 and 50 spots, paying $962 and $905 respectively.
RI also ranks 42nd in average real estate tax, paying an average of $2,779, according to the WalletHub report.
WalletHub has ranked Rhode Island as the 7th worst state to be rich in in a recent in depth analysis of 2015's Best States to be Rich or Poor From a Tax Perspective.
On a scale with 1 being the best, and 25 being average, Rhode Island ranks 37th in low income earners, 42 in middle income earners and 45th in high income earners.
To see the full report, click here.
Providence-metro ranks at the bottom for job creation in 2014
Rhode Island has been ranked amongst the worst in job creation, according to a recent survey done by Gallup.
Gallup gives the Prov-metro area an index score of 23, the lowest score is the New York- New Jersey area with 20.
Salt Lake City, Utah and Austin-round Rock, Texas rank the highest with a score of 37.
The 2014 state rankings by Forbes has just been released and Rhode Island moved up two spots from #48 in 2013 to #46 in 2014.
What does Forbes say about RI's business environment"
After Michigan and Illinois, Rhode Island has experienced the third worst net migration out of its state in the country over the past five years. With a recent unemployment rate of 7.6%—lower than only Georgia and Mississippi—residents are leaving the state in search of jobs. Rhode Island has been stuck in the bottom five overall for six straight years. One plus: labor costs are 5% below the national average, which stands out in the expensive Northeast.
Findings from The State Business Tax Climate Index were released this morning by Tax Foundation which found Rhode Island to have the 45th best tax climate for businesses for 2015. The state's rank has not changed since last year after The Index analyzed 100 different tax variables in multiple categories.
Providence is the second worst city in America for small business, according to a new survey conducted by Thumbtack.com and the Kauffman Foundation.
More than 12,000 small businesses in 82 cities across the country participate in the survey. Providence received an overall "F" grade for small business friendliness.
Small Business Friendliness Grade: F
The Economist grades states on an A+ to F grading scale for its small business climate. Rhode Island is one of just 6 states to earn an "F" grade.
Overbearing bureaucracy and excessive licensing is stifling small business in America.
Forbes ranks each state in business costs, economic climate, and growth prospects. RI is third worst in 2013.
The most damning in the commentary:
After Michigan, Rhode Island has experienced the second worst net migration in the country over the past five years.
ChiefExecutive.net ranks each state in taxations and regulations, workforce quality, and living environment.
The most damning in the commentary:
Sky-high unemployment rate bespeaks continuing terrible business climate.
#46 Tax Foundation
Tax Foundation ranks each state in corporate tax rank, sales tax rank, and unemployment insurance tax rank.
Rhode Island and the other states in the bottom ten suffer from the same afflictions: complex, non-neutral taxes with comparatively high rates.
ALEC ranks each state in economic performance and outlook.
Although Rhode Island ranked low in economic performance, a forward-looking forecast is based on the state’s standing in 15 important state policy variables. Some of these variables include top marginal personal income tax rate and sales tax burden.
#47 Free Enterprise
Free Enterprise ranks each state in performance, exports, innovation + entrepreneurship, business climate, talent pipeline, infrastructure.
Rhode Island has continued to feel the direct impact and ripples from the recent recession—it ranks 47th overall in economic performance. However, positive rankings of 15th in talent pipeline and 16th in innovation and entrepreneurship suggest the existence of a foundation on which to build the future.
The Pew Charitable Trusts
#40 The Pew Charitable Trusts
The Pew Charitable Trusts ranks each state in job growth and job creation.
Rhode Island added 6,223 jobs in 2014.
10th Worst in Gallup's Annual Ranking of State Job Markets 2014
Rhode Island has been ranked 10th worst for job creation in Gallup's annual ranking of state job markets in 2014 with a job creation index number of 21
Rhode Island is one of two (Connecticut) states to rank in the bottom ten each year since 2008.
The 2014 State level findings have were drawn from 201,254 interviews with employed adults across the nation.
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