Are You Missing Your Organization's Front-Line Legends?

by Ted Burnham

Most organizations have a founding legend – often a variant of the “two guys in a garage” myth, like Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak of Apple or William Hewlett and Dave Packard of HP.

Those stories are great for creating a sense of shared history, and may be inspirational for employees. But it’s often hard to connect those legendary founders to the day-to-day experience of most employees. Apple engineers today still need to innovate, but their workplace is a far cry from that suburban garage back in 1976 where Jobs and Woz built the first Apple computer (supposedly).

How much more impactful would it be if the legends at the core of your organization’s culture came instead from the front line?

How impactful would it be if the legends at the core of your organization’s culture came from the front line?

Zappos, the online shoe retailer, is great at this. A few years ago, our team ran across a story about a Zappos call-center employee who stayed on the phone for 8 hours and 3 minutes because her customer simply needed someone to talk to. Instead of firing this employee for reduced productivity, Zappos highlighted her story as a shining example of the organization’s core mission: building customer relationships.

Unfortunately, the details of that story have disappeared into the void of websites past – yet the legend of the “marathon phone call” lives on as part of Zappos’ lore. In the years since, that 8-hour record has been broken again and again, and Zappos’ reputation for outstanding customer service has only grown.

Those stories don’t explain anything about Zappo’s history or founding. But each one tells you everything you need to know about the mindsets and behaviors that will help Zappos employees succeed today and in the future: focus on your customer, build relationships, have fun, create “wow” moments… 

A great front-line legend tells your employees everything they need to know about the mindsets and behaviors that will help them succeed today and in the future.

Your organization has stories like this. Your employees are living new ones every day. But chances are, you’re not capturing and preserving and sharing those stories.

That’s the beauty of Avanoo’s workplace storytelling platform. We can help you discover, collect, and share your employees’ stories in real time – stories that instantly become part of your culture and inspire the mindsets and behaviors that allow your organization to thrive.

So don’t let any more of your front-line legends slip unnoticed into the past. Reach out to our team and find out how we can help your employees share stories that drive engagement and performance. The results we create together will be legendary!

—Ted Burnham, Avanoo Lead Content Marketer

About Ted

Ted Burnham loves the power of words – to tell stories, explain big ideas, and help people connect. He is a writer, editor, multimedia producer, storyteller, and “professional combobulator”. Ted’s work has appeared on NPR, Popular Science, and elsewhere.

About Avanoo

Avanoo brings together the world’s oldest artform – storytelling – and the world’s newest technologies – AI, machine learning – to support teams in experiencing more connection, belonging, and performance. Our app makes it easy for employees to share and listen to each other’s stories wherever they are, and our insights dashboard makes it easy for leaders to understand where and how stories create lasting impact on their teams. Learn more:
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