Anecdotally Speaking

Anecdotally Speaking
Business stories you can tell at work

047 – Blinded by beliefs
Oct 16 • 17 min
In this week’s episode of Anecdotally Speaking, we’re mixing things up! Instead of sharing one story, we’re sharing three, each one illustrating the importance of keeping an open mind and an awareness of unconscious bias. Shawn’s about to head off on a…
046 – Work the plan and work with the people
Aug 25 • 29 min
In this episode of Anecdotally Speaking, we welcome another guest! Luke Brown has been a friend of Mark’s for many years. He joins us to share a story from his time working as a project manager for the Australian Defence Force. Luke has successfully run…
045 – Old oak forester beams
Aug 18 • 14 min
In this episode, it’s Shawn’s turn to share a historical story. He recounts a crisis faced by Oxford’s New College about 100 years ago. An entomologist found the beams in the ceiling of the college’s main dining room riddled with beetles. The beetles had…
044 – Navigating like clockwork
Jul 29 • 21 min
Here at Anecdote, we’re gearing up to turn 15 years old! We’ve been taking a trip down memory lane as we prepare for our big day. Keep an eye on our Instagram page, @RealAnecdote, for some flashbacks! In this episode, Mark retells the story contained in…
043 – Show amazing grace to your audience
Jun 19 • 22 min
Podcasts are a great source of stories. That’s why we started Anecdotally Speaking. Malcolm Gladwell’s Broken Record is no exception. Shawn found this week’s story listening to episodes 1 and 2 of the podcast. Questlove, drummer, DJ, and member of…
042 – Seasoned speed skaters savvy strategy
May 22 • 28 min
This week, Mark shares the story behind Steven Bradbury’s win in the short tack speed skating final at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. You might think you know the story behind the most unexpected gold medal in history, but Mark’s retelling…
041 – Icing breakers and presentation matters
May 12 • 18 min
If you regularly read our blog, you will be familiar with story-triggering. Story-triggering is what occurs when someone does something so remarkable that the people who see, or experience it, tell stories about it. In our last episode, we shared a story…
040 – Moving forward on a backwards bike
Mar 25 • 19 min
This week, Karen Stanton, the Global Branding and Marketing Director at IFF (International Flavours and Fragrances), joins us from New Jersey. She shares the story of the ‘backwards brain bike’. When riding the backwards brain bike, you have to turn the…
039 – Reply all and touch many
Mar 17 • 24 min
This week we welcome our first guest speaker for 2019 to Anecdotally Speaking! Jill Roche is the Chief of Corporate Affairs at World Vision Australia. She shares a story which suggests we should look at mistakes as opportunities. Imagine unthinkingly…
038 – Dolphin kicks out number one
Feb 17 • 22 min
A few years ago, Shawn was doing a project for a software company in the United States. He was invited to attend a sales conference in Orlando, where he heard a sales leader he had been coaching share a story with his sales team. In this episode, Shawn…
037 – Fortran reveals Hidden Figures
Jan 29 • 20 min
Happy New Year! We took two weeks off over the holiday period to relax and recharge. Now, we’re back and ready for a big year! Here is the first episode of Anecdotally Speaking for 2019! This year, we’re excited to hear more stories from guests all over…
036 – The way to a rioter’s heart
Dec 4, 2018 • 11 min
This week, Shawn shares another story. The story demonstrates how small things can make a big difference. It suggests that if we are looking to solve a problem we should think about the small things we can do, before thinking about the big things other…
035 – Spotify bugs bite back
Nov 26, 2018 • 14 min
Once again, its Shawn’s turn to share a story. The story he has chosen suggests the success of new products relies on finding a balance of new and familiar features. Spotify’s ‘Discover Weekly’ is a personalised music playlist of 30 songs, chosen based on…
034 – When baggage really flies
Nov 21, 2018 • 14 min
Having a clear purpose can help an organisation make better decisions. Southwest Airlines’ purpose to ‘democratise the skies’ helped the airline add over $1 billion to their bottom line, despite a slump in the profitability of the airline industry. This…
033 – Nixon on the poverty line
Nov 11, 2018 • 17 min
This week, it is Mark’s turn to share a story. The story he has chosen is one which demonstrates how stories can change minds and influence people. This story changed his mind. It reminded him to be aware of his assumptions and aware of the lessons of…
032 – Dyson innovation really sucks
Oct 29, 2018 • 28 min
Most of us know the Dyson brand. Their vacuum cleaners, hair dryers and stylers, fans, heaters and humidifiers are all considered top of their product ranges. Most of us, however, don’t know that James Dyson toiled over the design for his bagless vacuum…
031 – Charles Masefield on humility and productivity
Oct 24, 2018 • 26 min
Continuing to share stories from those we’ve met on our travels, in this episode we’re joined by Sir Charles Masefield. Charles shares a story from very early in his career with BAE Systems. Charles worked his way up within the ranks of the company,…
030 – Damit Samit, what a great idea
Oct 7, 2018 • 19 min
Anecdotally Speaking is back! We’ve taken a short hiatus while travelling all over Australia and all over the world. We’ve returned home with a collection of stories shared by clients and friends we met along the way. In this episode we welcome a guest…
029 – Paul revered while Dawes knocked
Sep 3, 2018 • 13 min
The British are coming! Make sure you tell your well connected mates.
028 – Hot Brazilians futsal weapon
Aug 14, 2018 • 15 min
Instead of seeing a pattern of excellence and just noticing it, top leaders investigate how the pattern formed and work out ways to recreate it.
027 – John Snow versus the Miasma
Jul 25, 2018 • 18 min
Bringing your data to life is crucial in making others understand why it’s important. In this example, we hear how John Snow had to be creative and clear with his data to prove his theory right.
026 – Henry Ford did that?
Jul 17, 2018 • 17 min
What do you do when you have high turnover? Henry Ford’s solution made his shareholders angry.
025 – How to tap into your audience
Jul 4, 2018 • 18 min
Tags: Curse of knowledge, bigger picture, insight When people don’t understand what we’re trying to convey to them we get frustrated. Sometimes we wonder why they aren’t getting something so simple. This is called the curse of knowledge.
024 – U2 can protect your tribe
Jun 28, 2018 • 16 min
Tags: Life and death, bravery, taking care of others An important part of leadership is taking care of your team. This story is a beautiful example of how taking care of others and helping them through tough times is beneficial for everyone. The focus of…
023 – Industrial design with child’s play
Jun 17, 2018 • 17 min
Tags: User experience, shifting perspectives, design Putting the customer first and shifting your perspective to seeing how your design might be viewed by others is really important in today’s globalised, competitive market. It’s Mark’s turn to tell a…
022 – Saving Rubles with mutual Mars
Jun 12, 2018 • 20 min
Tags: Values-in-action, mutuality, trust We’ve changed things up a little for this week’s episode of Anecdotally Speaking! We have Gerry Lynch, former General Manager of Mars New Zealand and now CEO of Delmaine Fine Foods tell the story this week.
021 – Rolling stones to hidden gems
Jun 3, 2018 • 16 min
Tags: team-work, rocks, conflict Working in teams can be hard. In the process of working together, we can disagree, stall and face major setbacks. However, when a team comes together and gets across the finish line it can be great. The story Mark shares…
020 – Twists and turns of a flying fortress
May 29, 2018 • 19 min
Tags: big-difference, small-things, checklist, Small things can make a big difference. That’s the theme of this episode of Anecdotally Speaking. In Episode 20, Twists and turns of a flying fortress, we hear how a checklist saved Boeing from going under…
019 – Three feet away from the gold seam
May 23, 2018 • 17 min
It takes a lot of hard work and persistence to do something great. Naturally, if the goal is a big one it’s going to be harder to achieve. You just don’t want to give up and find out that you were close to achieving it. This week, Mark tells a story about…
018 – Are you married?
May 14, 2018 • 17 min
Tags: safety, moments, attention-grabbing Our story this week is a short one, but it has an impact. As you will see if you tell a story in an unexpected way, and the topic is possible death or injury, you will immediately generate interest from your…
017 – All about apocryphal stories
May 1, 2018 • 21 min
Tags: apocryphal stories, influence stories The web is full of stories of dubious origins, which is the very definition of apocryphal, yet many can be used to make a business point as long as you make clear that the story is most likely false. We provide…
016 – Tips for strawberry flavour
Apr 22, 2018 • 23 min
In this episode of Anecdotally Speaking, we explain what it is that Mark and I do for work, why some stories work for some audiences and not for others and the difference between the typical ‘brand stories’ we see and the one we share today. Lots of…
015 – Empty bunks in tall ships
Apr 17, 2018 • 16 min
It’s Mark’s turn to share a story, and so he tells a great one of a man in Poland who wanted to come to Australia but didn’t think he had any chance of doing so. It’s a great example of persistence with a twist at the end. Shawn and Mark also touch on how…
014 – It ain’t what you do
Apr 10, 2018 • 17 min
In this week’s episode of Anecdotally Speaking, an Irish principal demonstrates a powerful message to her school of predominantly African American students with one small action. It’s a fantastic example of how to lead through what you do instead of what…
013 – Travel connections
Apr 3, 2018 • 18 min
In this episode, we hear how one of the founders of Flight Centre puts an employee first. It’s a story that we often tell when asked for a good example of leadership. We also talk about how you can build rapport within the first five minutes of a meeting…
012 – Harley Davidson promise
Mar 25, 2018 • 12 min
An organisation value is nothing more than an slogan unless it impacts employees’ behaviours. In this episode we visit a Harley Davidson factory and see their company values in action.
011 – High viz role modelling
Mar 18, 2018 • 14 min
Tags: leadership, safety, speaking up, story-triggering, moments They say what a leader walks past without saying anything becomes the norm. So sometimes it really helps to see what your people will let slide or who will speak up. Today’s story should…
010 – Bright spots
Mar 11, 2018 • 16 min
One of the most important stories a leader can tell is one that provides insight on how to tackle problems in new ways. I call them intervention stories and some of the very best ones are from outside the business world. In fact, if you look back on the…
009 – Jackie Stewart in the pits
Mar 4, 2018 • 16 min
Today’s story illustrates the strong link between great work and what can been seen, heard, and felt in the workplace. You can tell this story to help your team understand how top performers appear and get a conversation going about what your workplace…
008 – Gillian is a dancer
Feb 25, 2018 • 16 min
Have you ever had an employee who just didn’t fit, who wasn’t quite cutting it, and your boss suggests you should let them go? Helping people find what they are truly good at is one of the many jobs of a leader and firing someone should be your last…
007 – Saving the Citicorp skyscraper
Feb 18, 2018 • 13 min
We often get asked “does storytelling work with finance folk, scientists or engineers?” There’s an assumption in their question that some professions only care about the numbers, the facts, and they don’t have time or an interest for stories. Well,…
006 – Accidentally winding up a bank
Feb 11, 2018 • 10 min
The way leaders react in times of high stress is a good measure of their character. And it is in these times of strain everyone is taking note of what the leader is doing. The leader’s reaction creates new stories that make the organisation’s culture. You…
005 – The street corner experiment
Feb 4, 2018 • 13 min
A story type we love here at Anecdote is the story of a scientific experiment. It has the double benefit of giving you a story with a good business point and it’s based on peer reviewed research. An experiment story has authority, especially with people…
004 – Can’t see the bathroom from the grout
Jan 28, 2018 • 12 min
This week’s episode features a small story that’s versatile and really delivers. It’s about a bathroom renovation of all things. Sometimes business stories can come from your personal life and make a good business point. The beauty of many of our personal…
003 – Pick one great strategy
Jan 21, 2018 • 22 min
With all the stories you’ll learn here in Anecdotally Speaking you will need a place, and an approach, to keep track of them so you can find good ones when you need them. So in this episode Mark and I run through some tips to create your own story-bank…
002 – World’s worst first day on the job
Jan 18, 2018 • 16 min
We’re reading The Power of Moments by Dan and Chip Heath and they talk about creating memorable first days. This episode features a story with a very memorable first day which you wouldn’t wish on anyone. And wrapped up in the story are insights about…
001 – An unexpected visitor from Mars
Jan 17, 2018 • 13 min
Each week Mark Schenk and I will introduce a new story you could potentially tell at work, then we will describe why it works and share some ideas of how it might be used in a business setting. By the end of year you will have about 50 stories you can…