Some of you know that I decided to use my pandemic inspired “down time” to embark on a book writing project, Seth Godin’s Writing in Community, and this resulted in a first draft of Listen UP: How we Listen & What we Listen For Determines How we Think, and What we Decide. Some others of you know that shortly into that process, I got convinced into signing on for a second round of CEI’s Propeller project, and I’m glad I did, because this eventually turned into Nugget: a simple bookmarking tool that eliminates the need to take notes in online meetings. What do these efforts have in common? Not much, at least on the surface, but what they both involve the utilization of building a case: a story that illustrates value, of a product – a concept, an idea.
I enjoy the storytelling aspect of writing a case. You may be familiar with a Maya Angelou quote: “People will forget what you said, they’ll forget what you did, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.” The most powerful cases are those that let me have a range of feelings. I’ve had the pleasure of erecting several cases in the development of Shift/POV, as ways for teams to sample this discussion and group decision tool. In my book, my 14 wonderful Beta readers (those willing to read a not-so-perfect 1st draft of a book) have, to a person, remarked on the power of the stories to bring the head, hands & heart listening modalities to life. And with Nugget, as more and more people sign on to try it, our Beta users will give us valuable feedback to build cases on. So far we have several sales people, business coaches, teachers and financial advisors testing this tool out for us, so the variety of professional application is already intriguing. I’m very excited to begin putting these stories together.
So far, I’d say the “ingredients” for a good case are the same for a good story, with one *essential element to bring them full circle:
2 parts Quest, Goal or Vision
1 Part Challenge and/or 1 Part Obstacle and/or Antagonist
1 Vital Assist/Helper/Wise Voice
1 Part Context*
Combine first 2 ingredients with a Platform, then move on to the “Tilt” with the Challenge and/or the Obstacle. Mix somewhat painfully together and sprinkle throughout with 1/2 the Context. Then add the Vital Assist for renewed flavor, you’ll find this helps strengthen and renew the Protagonist, and the Vision. Conclude with the Context, and Bon Appetit! Relish your case!