Igniting Workplace Enthusiasm

Storytelling: “Warning” Stories


Storytelling: “Warning” Stories

by Dale Carnegie Training India

27 July

They say ‘prevention is better than cure’. As humans, we have all been hardwired to be cautious for survival since the dawn of time. Most often, these survival tactics have been passed on through stories.  They were earlier known as cautionary tales; today the corporate lingo refers to them as warning stories.  Here is a warning story:

12:20 pm. And he was still far from his destination. Sajal had just taken a right turn from the bridge when his scooter slipped and he had to use all his riding experience to save himself from falling. He decelerated, put his right leg to the ground to balance the scooter, and applied both the brakes. The scooter tilted skids, swerved in its axis, emitted a loud screech and then came to a stand-still. Sajal sighed loudly with relief, his hands and legs stopped shaking, and his eyes then saw all the beautiful, tiny lemons rolling out in dozens and spreading out in the entire road.  This was the consignment that he was carrying for his client and now half of it was in danger of being spoiled.

In an instant, Sajal knew that he was going to be very late in the delivery. He could immediately visualize his client’s vitriolic remarks take the form of a huge punch and hitting him hard in the face.  His could also calculate that the next 25 minutes would not be spent covering the distance, but in just staying there and picking up his spilled goods. He in his heart was thankful and regretful at the same time. Thankful that there was no human harm and regretful that he had not thought of a potential human harm before taking the rights turn.

And so at 12:20 pm, he decided. He had made the mistake and should make amends himself, despite the consequences. With an apologetic demeanor to the other thorough farers, he bent and started picking up the lemons. There was pang of guilt as he realized that other road users would also be late because of him. Some of them were already shooting expletives to him.

At 12:21, an auto wallah stopped, created a barrier between him and the rest of the traffic, and started helping him. A lady, going to her office, stopped and helped Sajal. Two more students returning from their college also joined in.

At 12:25 pm, the road was clear. Sajal thanked all those who helped him.

At 12:26 pm, Sajal was on his way to his client. The 6-minute delay was explainable.

At 12:26 pm, Sajal was driving slowly. He had realized his responsibility as a road user. He had also witnessed the power of human collaboration.

If you think, this is Sajal’s story, think again. Change the word ‘delivery’ to ‘deliverables’ and a lot of us are like this. In our haste to deliver results, we can sometimes spill our goods. We can crash sometimes. The key is to admit quickly and recover with a decision. We may get help sometimes. The biggest lesson would be to reflect and see what our bigger responsibility as an employee is.


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