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Storytelling and Teaching Bold Ideas in Business

4 February, 2016

Shannon Smedstad

Global Communications / CEBer since 2014

Have you heard about corporate storytelling? It’s a business buzzword rooted in the idea of capturing the hearts and minds of an audience. At CEB, corporate storytelling is at the core of how our advisory community makes an outsized impact on our audience: the world’s largest and most renowned companies. It’s how we take a groundbreaking insight—discovered by a team of CEB researchers—and give it a voice.

Although other companies are just now jumping on the corporate storytelling bandwagon, CEB’s advisors have been honing their craft and transforming clients for more than 30 years. “Our researchers and advisors are all here because our members rely on—and trust—us to find and deliver the insights their teams need to be successful,” shares Jim Fitzmaurice, who advises heads of Audit at the world’s biggest companies. “I have the privilege of helping smart people learn from each other.”

Teach, Learn, and Connect

So, how do you give an insight a voice? Hint: it’s not simply by showing bar graphs, pie charts, and scatter plots on a slide deck. The best way is to take the data and turn it into a compelling story that is “crisp, memorable, and actionable,” states Leah Johnson, Principal Executive Advisor for CEB’s human resources practice. “We provide objective, globally relevant advice that is grounded in research. Articulating it as a story helps executives lift out what they need.”

Imagine this: You are the VP of talent acquisition for a billion-dollar company. Your recruiting team is swimming in a sea of unqualified applicants. And it’s now taking more than 60 days to fill open positions that used to take 21 days. This is real pain point for many heads of Recruiting around the world and across industries. What is a leader to do?

“During annual executive retreats (AERs), virtual events, conferences, and articles, we can take executives on a quest. We lead them on a journey from correctly defining and understanding some of their most complex business problems to then discovering solutions that address and solve them,” shared Dion Love, Executive Advisor for CEB Recruiting Leadership Council. “When we can show executives that what they’ve been doing is wrong and then teach them how to be fast and right … that is CEB at its best.”

Action from Insight

Meetings, both on-site and online, are the formal presentations of CEB’s top research from the year—creating a symbiotic relationship between the firm’s research and advisory communities. The content’s subject matter depends on which practice an Executive Advisor is aligned with and falls into one of these key functional areas:

Advisors and researchers take a thoughtful approach to how the data is reported to executives and how AER presentations are developed. They work in partnership to interpret and give voice to the research, identify the best way for people to connect with and consume it, and focus on the quality of the insight.

Become an Advisor at CEB

Being an Executive Advisor is a uniquely rewarding experience. “It allows me to stretch and learn every day,” says Johnson. “It’s not easy; it is a hugely challenging position. However, hearing from members and seeing how our work transforms organizations makes it rewarding.” As businesses and the work environment continue to grow and change, executives continue to face tough questions and complex issues.

CEB is a company of ideas that understands best practices and how current behaviors can cost companies hard dollars. If you are a compelling storyteller who is motivated by ideas and willing to challenge executive thinking, CEB may be right for you. Search using “advisor” and apply today at


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