Telling the Right Story

Phillip Stutts knows a thing or two about telling stories. After managing more than 1,200 victorious elections, ranging from local offices all the way up to three US Presidents, he’s a master at figuring out what people want and then delivering it to them. What can we learn from him?


Stutts told Cal Fussman that with politicians, he and his team start by understanding what the politicians actually care about. Next, his team determines what the voters care about and look for overlap. Finally, they focus on the top 2-3 overlapping ideas and build a campaign around those topics. In Stutts’ business consulting work, they follow a similar template. What does the company love to do, what do their best clients love about the company, where’s the overlap, and what’s the story they need to tell more often, more loudly, more passionately


There’s a theme here: find the story that resonates as much with the person telling it as the audience who is hearing it. Then, tell it again and again and again.


We want to understand what our clients and coworkers value in what we offer. Once we know what counts to them, turn it up. We are our own best evangelists, so when we convert others to preach on our behalf too – the word is going to spread to the people that will want to hear it. 


There’s always too much to do and too little time. We shouldn’t worry about what other people say matters, we should worry about determining the 2-3 overlapping themes that we have evidence of mattering. If we have passion and a few fans, we have enough market research to say, “This works.” 


Our jobs have a story. Find it and tell it. 


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