The strategic value of storytelling for leaders

Explore the latest insights on leadership, innovative business and crisis management in this Q&A with Justin Kingsley – Canadian brand expert, strategist and keynote speaker at The ONE National Conference 2017.

You’re involved with many interesting projects for global brands and businesses, including work for the Montreal Canadiens as creative director. Can you tell us a bit about what you do for clients and one of your most recent projects?

The goal is simple: to always find the best way to tell the right story. For some clients that requires a lot of strategy work, while for others it's purely creative. In a multimedia world, the ability to tell stories across all platforms is a great asset. For me, this includes everything from producing a brand strategy to writing a book or television show, and sometimes creating photo exhibitions.

A recent project was the rebranding and naming of Canada's science museums.

What’s the relationship between strategic decision-making and storytelling in a crisis?

It's all about mindset. The key in a crisis is to stay ahead of the event, which means preparation. True crisis management is the implementation of a strategy that anticipates every possible outcome. It's the difference between being reactive and proactive.

“People-first” leadership is at the heart of the bestselling book you co-wrote with Tangerine’s former CEO, Peter Aceto. What is “people-first” leadership and how can CPAs adopt it in their practice, starting today?

Put yourself in other people's shoes and try to understand what their goals are, and what they're feeling. Many people tend to forget how they felt in different situations while they were coming up the ranks.

Once you understand what your practice or company are looking to achieve – which only happens through two-way communication – it becomes easier to create win-win scenarios.

What can attendees look forward to in your keynote session at The ONE National Conference 2017?

I'm excited to be at The ONE. My goal is to entertain, of course, while also sharing immediately applicable insights on strategy and leadership. That way people will learn a thing or two and enjoy the process.


You’re a big proponent of finding better ways to lead and create – from the Unite the Faithful campaign to your more recent storytelling initiative, Makumaku. Sometimes that means challenging, or reinventing, the status quo. What’s your advice for leaders who want to cultivate that attitude in organizations reluctant to change?

Fall down seven times, stand up eight.

Register for The ONE National Conference 2017 from September 18-19, 2017 in Ottawa and hear Justin speak live about how you and your organization can turn crisis into opportunity with a smart leadership strategy.