Wake Me Up When The Data Is Over

“Silverman reminds us that the best tools for connecting to and inspiring our teams are the oldest ones—stories. A customer service story, a story illustrating our history, or a story exhibiting commitment to share goals can inspire more deeply than an directive from on high. Put flesh on the bone. Tell a story.”
– Arne M. Sorenson, former chief financial officer, currently president and chief executive officer, Marriott International

Do you wish you could more fully engage your employees? Or reduce turnover by 25 percent or more? Do you need to quickly align staff around the organization’s long-term strategy? Or achieve double-digit growth? Then this groundbreaking book is for you.

Read about real-life examples from over 70 respected organizations small and large, representing a multitude of industries using stories to drive results. Leaders from organizations such as Microsoft, Lands’ End, Verizon, U.S. Air Force, and World Vision demonstrate the strong positive influence stories can have.

“I love the book. Lori Silverman and her contributors have assembled a valuable compendium of information on how and why stories enable transformation and include how to do this in your own organization. My hope is that this book will create a new generation of leaders who will stop numbing people with spreadsheets and pie charts, and start inspiring them with stories that illuminate organizational mission, values, and goals.”
– Frank D. Byrne, M.D., president of St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center, a part of the SSM Health Care system

No abstract theories or platitudes are conveyed here. It spells out how Kevin Roberts, CEO worldwide of Saatchi and Saatchi, achieved sustained sales growth after several mergers and downsizings caused the organization to fall on hard times. And how Erik Shaw, president and CEO of FivePoint Federal Credit Union, overcame resistance to an organizational name change, resulting in membership growth exceeding the national average.

In this hands-on guide, learn how stories can be used to:

  • Get employees to take action.
  • Accelerate knowledge acquisition and organizational change.
  • Solidify individual and team working relationships.
  • Provide exceptional customer service.
  • Increase the visibility of your organization.

Drawing on interviews with 171 public and private sector leaders, this book goes beyond storytelling to reveal five keys to making stories work for you: how to find existing stories, dig into them to uncover hidden patterns and themes, select those stories that need to be reinforced, craft memorable stories, and embody stories to positively impact people’s attitudes, thoughts and behaviors.

It also includes proven tools and techniques that will help you sharpen these skills.

If your success as an executive depends upon your ability to engage your people, your leadership and other vital stakeholders, you have to read this book. Using this proven technique will enhance the organization’s success as well your communications and also transcend your activities and ultimate effectiveness. This book is a resource you’ll refer to time and time again.”
– William J. Carbone, CEO, 
American Association of Physician Specialists & American Board of Physician Specialties

Organizations Featured in the Book

  • AARP Services, Inc.
  • Alternatives Federal Credit Union
  • BMC Software, Inc.
  • BP
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • California Department of Social Services
  • Cele Peterson’s Fashions
  • Cerium Laboratories, LLC
  • Cheskin
  • Chivas Brothers Ltd., a business unit of Pernod Ricard
  • CityYear, Inc.
  • Development Dimensions International, Inc.
  • Endevco Corporation, a Meggitt group company
  • Erbert & Gerbert’s Subs & Clubs
  • Fisher & Paykel
  • FivePoint Federal Credit Union
  • Gaylord Hospital
  • Gen-I, a subsidiary of Telecom New Zealand
  • Ginger Group Collaborative
  • Goizueta Business School, Emory University
  • Groh Productions and Groh Records
  • Hewlett Packard
  • i.d.e.a.s. (innovation, design, entertainment, art and storytelling)
  • Incredible Pets
  • Information Resources, Inc.
  • Interface, Inc.
  • Interior Health
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Kentucky League of Cities and New Cities Institute
  • Kimberly-Clark Corporation
  • Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group, LLC
  • Lands’ End
  • Levi Strauss & Company
  • Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • Molson Coors Brewing Company
  • Motorola
  • NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center
  • National Speakers Association
  • Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
  • oneVillage Foundation
  • Orlando Regional Healthcare
  • Procter & Gamble Company
  • RS Information Systems, Inc.
  • Rush-Copley Medical Center
  • Saatchi & Saatchi
  • St. Andrew’s United Church
  • Shell Exploration & Production Company
  • Society for the Protection and Care of Children
  • Spare Key
  • State of WI Department of Natural Resources
  • That Uppity Theatre Company
  • The Asset-Based Community Development Institute
  • The United Illuminating Company
  • Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria
  • University of North Carolina, Greensboro, The University Speaking Center
  • U.S. Air Force
  • U.S. Army
  • U.S. Department of the Treasury
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • UTSA’s Institute of Texan Cultures
  • United Way of York County, PA
  • Verizon
  • VSM Geneesmiddelen bv (VSM Pharmaceuticals)
  • Washington Business Journal
  • Washington Mutual
  • Winning Ways, Inc.
  • World Vision U.S.
  • Wyeth Pharmaceuticals

Book Contributors

  • Madelyn Blair
  • Evelyn Clark
  • Karen Dietz
  • Marcy Fisher
  • Alicia Korten
  • Denise Lee
  • Sylvia L. Lovely
  • Michael J. Margolis
  • North McKinnon
  • Susan J. Moore
  • Susan M. Osborn
  • Ashraf Ramzy
  • Lori Silverman
  • Steven N. Silverman
  • Susan Stites
  • Joanna Truitt
  • Jo Tyler


“An easy to read, well organized compilation of stories that demonstrates their power across a broad spectrum of business needs. Anyone choosing these techniques as part of their toolkit will appreciate the insights shared by the storytellers.”
- Ellen Bovarnick, vice president, Business Process Excellence, The Coca-Cola Company

“Lori Silverman offers fresh ideas for introducing stories into organizations and inspiring better leadership through them. This is a well-researched and lively reference for leaders at every level.”
- John Alexander, president,Center for Creative Leadership

“This book takes the concept of organizational stories from a pleasant idea to a practical means to advance strategy, product development, and ultimately shareholder value.”
- Anita Brick, director,
 University of Chicago Graduate School of Business

“Storytelling, often thought to be a dying craft, is making a sensational comeback in modern day organizational life. Leaders in all walks will benefit from Silverman’s real world accounts of storytelling successes in high performing organizations.”
- Daniel M. Sprague, CEO,
 The Council of State Governments

“When just about every fact on the planet is but one mouse click away, stories take on new importance in every business enterprise. From leadership to team building to branding to knowledge management, narrative has become a powerful—and essential—tool. This collection of essays offers an array of savvy advice on how to unleash the power of stories in your organization.”
- Daniel H. Pink, author of A WHOLE NEW MIND

“Achieving results through others is a key competency for everyone in a leadership role. Lori’s book illustrates how the use of stories will help your organization achieve positive outcomes. A must read for anyone in an organization facing significant change.”
- Vicki L. Chvala, executive vice president,
 American Family Insurance

“Organizations have a real issue: The fact that they are both community and hierarchy, and that the two are often at cross-purposes with one another. Stories are a vehicle for expressing this kind of understanding and connection that from time to time make a great difference.”
- Art Kleiner, editor in chief,
 strategy + business

“This book is excellent at introducing how stories can be used to communicate management principles and strategic ideas. It's the first to summarize the use of story in various business applications with REAL examples and results. I seriously will use the concepts presented in this book in my own company.”
- David Coffman, president, 
Coffman Engineers, Inc.

“A captivating and inspirational read that reveals the power of stories to influence change in organizations! Lori Silverman does a masterful job of weaving a tapestry of stories from publicly traded companies and small businesses to governmental agencies and nonprofits that exemplify best practices in customer service, project management, teamwork, leadership, organizational change and more.”
- Kirby Rosplock, vice president, 
Research & Development, Asset Management Advisors

“Wake Me Up When The Data Is Over is an invaluable set of insights about how business stories are being used in practical ways in a wide variety of organizational contexts. Essential reading for anyone interested in learning how to use story—the most ancient of technologies—for very modern purposes.”
- Stephen Denning, author of The Leader's Guide to Storytelling (2005)

“Wow! This was a really great read—unique and pertinent to day-to-day leadership. It provides a very fresh perspective on a very old subject.”
- Carson F. Dye, partner, 

“What a wonderful book. Instead of theory and ideas, this book teaches by telling us stories that focus in on the everyday life of an organization, and the things that make a difference. The book introduces a new form of business education that is vivid, inspirational and helpful.”
- Dennis T. Jaffe, Ph.D., professor of organizational systems,
 Saybrook Graduate School

“As a person who has worked in the nonprofit world and ‘fought hunger’ for the past 17 years, I can totally attest to the strategies outlined in “Wake Me Up.” Charts cannot convey the loss of hope or dignity that comes with poverty, not will statistics inspire citizens to see their role in finding solutions. Stories help people see the bigger world, and they can often give people the courage and understanding they need to step forward and become engaged. I never leave home without a story in my pocket.”
- Robert Egger, president of DC Central Kitchen and author of Begging For Change

“The book is fabulous. The case studies are eye-opening to new and pragmatic ideas that can be implemented at all levels of an organization.”
- Cheryl Grandolfo, manager, Strategic Alliances, Lending Solutions, Inc.; board member, American Marketing Association-Chicago Chapter

“Companies that use fact-based selling techniques struggle to differentiate themselves from their competition. This insightful and groundbreaking book teaches storytelling techniques that can transform any such organization from simply being competitive to being unforgettable.”
- Vik Bangia, managing director,
 Strategic Services, Corporate Real Estate Services, United Properties

“Every organization has its stories. Anyone wanting to understand an organization’s culture need only listen to the stories people tell. This book is a ‘must read’ in that it describes ways to use storytelling and story hearing to affect an organization’s culture to create desired results.”
- Judy Schector, director, 
Developing Leadership in Reducing Substance Abuse, Portland State University

“Storytelling and corporate lore play an important role in communicating strategies, intentions, operating styles and especially values. The organizational and topical breadth of the stories gathered together in this volume will inspire you to tell the most meaningful story of all—yours.”
- Alph Bingham, CEO, 
InnoCentive, Inc.

“Storytelling sounds so simple. And it was, once upon a time. This book is a reminder that storytelling allows deeper understanding of and commitment to a situation or a person, and it’s a reference to jump-start the thinking required to tell your story.”
- Susan Hughes, senior vice president, 

“This book will reshape your view of storytelling and give you lots of practical ways to use stories in your organization to capture the hearts and minds of people.”
- Scott Hayes, manager of organization development and training, Peoples Energy Corporation

“Business leaders in all arenas will be inspired by Wake Me Up to explore and harness the power of their individual and collective experiences to affect change and influence success.”
- Pamela S. Gilley, COO,
 American Legion Auxiliary National Headquarters