Developing Talent Using Strategic Storytelling

(@americalearning) Interview with Alfredo Castro, a talent development professional, long time ATD supporter, international speaker and subject matter expert from Brazil. He will be a prominent speaker of the international conference ATD 2015. Keys to develop successful instances of strategic storytelling. Characteristics of the Bradesco project.


Why you recommend participating in ATD 2015?

Alfredo Castro, President at MOT Training and Development, Inc (Brazil, USA): I attended the conference for the first time in 1995. Since then, I have attended the conference each year, and I’ve actively worked in different committees and interest groups at the association. I have had the opportunity of attending and presenting at different conferences in many countries (France, England, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, and other countries of latin America, from Argentina to Mexico) and can tell you that this is, for sure, the largest and most impacting conference of all others. I strongly recommend going there for many reasons, but will mention just a few: the best place to understand the trends on our field, best on getting to know the newest books and researches from talent development, and the network we can make with colleagues from more than 30 countries.


Which presentation you will be doing this year at the ATD international conference?

The title will be: Developing Talent Using Strategic Storytelling.  The objective of this session will be sharing some strategic storytelling principles applied to the workplace. I will share real experiences and best practices based on storytelling and management programs implemented at Bradesco, a giant bank in Brazil (a 70-year-old company with 110,000 employees) I invited Glaucimar Peticov to present together with me. Our proposal is showing how modern techniques on storytelling can result in impacting on management development programs. Real case studies will demonstrate to attendees the vital principles of talent development and how to integrate resources such as storytelling, social media tools, gamification, and formal and informal learning into their training methods.



What are the main keys to develop successful instances of strategic storytelling?

I intend to promote three takeaways from our presentation:

  • The first one will be how the participants can discover how to continually update development programs to create a strategic and robust talent development plan.
  • The second one will be how we can understand the principles of corporate storytelling and learn practical techniques for management development programs.
  • Last, but not least, the participants will see how to apply the principles of corporate storytelling and learn practical techniques to generate effective business results.


What impact have this trend in companies, globally and particularly in the Americas?

Great impact! Mainly due to the modern society, much more connected, open for stories! As time goes, globalization increases and changes the way we make business, more organizations will become more prepared to compete in a global scale. As competition increases, communication challenges a global leader to apply new techniques like gamification, elearning and storytelling. So, a global leader will need to find new ways to communicate with their teams and customers; storytelling is a very powerful way to do this. If used properly, it will differentiate your products and services from the rest.


Could you tell us some characteristics of the project that you developed with Bradesco?

Bradesco is a corporation within 110,000 employees! Imagine the challenge of designing and delivering leadership training and talent development to their leadership pipeline! The project we conduct for this organization for the last 20 years are based in storytelling. Stories create a communication bridge to connect the left and right sides of the brain, by touching the rational elements of leaders and teams as well as their emotional aims and objectives. I know that we are accustomed on the use of storytelling (in the corporate environment) generally in marketing and product development. This technique can be used in other areas to improve results. One of the best projects to use this very technique is management development programs. And that is the characteristics of my projects to Bradesco.”


You are an international business consultant with experience in implementing blended learning programs and human resource projects, in more than 120 companies, and more than 25 countries (Asia, Africa, Europe and Americas). How do you recommend integrate in blended learning projects instances of social learning, mobile learning and collaborative learning?

Yes, you are right when ask me about how we can integrate mobile learning and social media (and all of these new demands are based, at the end, on storytelling).

With the help of technology, it is now possible to facilitate social interactions and derive meaningful learning out of them. This makes social interactions possible between a larger group, surpassing geographical boundaries and cultures!

In fact, learning has always been a social activity. It is then no wonder why Workplace Learning too has a strong social element. Across conference tables and across cubicles, over coffee breaks and at the water cooler – social interactions occur continually that form the building blocks of learning within the workplace. These informal instances of learning are not logged into a system or even structured in any way. But the power and reach of social interactions for learning cannot be overlooked.

I would say: social interactions cannot be forced! Even if you are successful in getting learners to log on to a social forum, they need to find the shared ground for actual learning to happen.”

A powerful social learning strategy that creates an environment of learning is through sharing experiences. Experiences are personal – but there is a lot of learning that can be derived from them as well. Learners too are much more open to sharing experiences as they do not have to do any background study or extra work for it. It happens during the course of work and when you share it, it helps your fellow learners. Sharing experiences also comes with a sense of pride, so this type of social sharing comes most naturally to most learners.

This is not the future anymore… this is just happening right now!


April 2015