Over the chapters of this Guidebook, we’ve covered a lot of ground. You’ve identified the different building blocks that go into the design of a Narrative. Now, we will look at how to pull it all together.
To recap, we started with a Shared Purpose that defines your business in a way that makes it universally relevant and engaging. Note that this Shared Purpose is not philanthropic. It is not separate from your business. It is the context in which you conduct your business. It is why you do what you do.
You can think about the narrative as expressing three dimensions of this purpose.
The other elements:
So how do these all come together? We use a test called Bring It On.
You are looking for the element of your narrative that is the essence of what you are about. The thing that you know you are better at than anyone else. The dimension on which you want to compete.
The test is that if a competitor said they are going to compete with you on this thing, you would say “Bring it on!”
We aren’t looking for a value proposition here, although it might be related to that. We are looking for the focal point of your narrative. To illustrate the point here is the basic narrative of Shift Thinking.
Let’s say that we’re being considered by a potential client for a consulting or speaking engagement and there are couple other candidates. If they say they are looking for someone who can share best practices or talk about market trends, we’d say we’re as good as anyone else. But if you told us they are looking for someone to shift the thinking of their audience and give people a new mindset for success in a digital age, we’d say you won’t find anyone better. In other words, Bring It On!
The tricky part of finding your Bring It On is that it is not as obvious as you might think. We often take our greatest gifts for granted. It is so obvious to us, we assume others can see it too. Or it comes so easily to us, that we assume it can’t be a source of real differentiation or advantage.
Take a look through your worksheet and see which of the narrative elements you feel really defines and distinguishes your business.
See if you can boil it down to a phrase or saying that captures the essence of the narrative.