Sunday, February 10, 2013

Lance Armstrong: The Limit Of Storytelling

I wanted to share you some thoughts I have about the big scandal that happened couple of weeks ago. After years of having denied he took performance enhancing drugs, Lance Armstrong was forced to admit publicly his system. Of course, it has been a big scandal.

Lance Armstrong is a controversial character.
  •  On one hand, he has been a great champion, a great professional, who has had a strong will power to win 7 Tour de France in a row. Doped or not, it is still a performance.
  • He has been a role model, for its capacity to overcome his cancer.
  • On the other one, there has always been suspicious about his drug use. Also, as a cyclist, other professionals have always pictured Armstrong as a cocky person, very selfish.
Now, I don't want to take a side. But what is true, is that the whole story around Armstrong may have been too nice. The whole story Armstrong created around his character allowed him to become way bigger than his sports.

Storytelling is a communication technique that has been around for quite a while now. Not a global company, not a political campaign, are built without a story to give meaning to it. The whole concept is to be able to create an authentic story around a concept. But sometimes it has some limits, especially when there is no true story behind, or when the story is twisted.

But the story was too nice: probably too well written. And the problem is now everything falls apart.

My whole point is to say: You should not use storytelling when there is nothing authentic behind. Because when the true story unveils then everything you built breaks down.