Five years ago, the global financial collapse extinguished some companies and changed the plot line for those that survived.

Companies’ storytelling possibilities are never more potent than they are after a crisis. Why do some succeed and others fail?

Companies’ storytelling possibilities are never more potent than they are after a crisis. Why do some succeed and others fail?

It’s time to say happy anniversary to the Great Recession. Five years ago this week, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, Bank of America purchased Merrill Lynch, AIG received a bailout and the Dow plummeted 504 points in one day. The global economy has been on quite the ride since 2008, enduring more crushing losses, near-death experiences and stunning revivals than a comic-book character in a summer blockbuster.

If your organization is still conducting business today, it undoubtedly has a story to tell about the past five years. Have you taken a few moments to record and tell it?

Clients, investors and potential employees are interested in why some companies managed to survive when so many others did not. By documenting these stories, companies can immediately leverage the achievements of and lessons learned in the past five years to grow their businesses and reinforce their culture today.

Our clients are conducting oral histories with their key players of the recent past, saving records in archives and recording the tales of survival in books. They are telling their stories in training sessions, at events, in videos, on websites and even highlighting the 2008 crisis in anniversary exhibits.

The recent past is as much a part of an organization’s heritage as its founding era, and odds are that how your company handled the Great Recession is already viewed as a major turning point in its history.  What do you want your internal and external audiences to know about your experience? Take the time now to organize, preserve and communicate the important moments of the past few years before the key players are gone and interest wanes. Talk with the executives and managers about the turning points, ask employees to describe the atmosphere and any changes in their job or work environment, and look for and save the emails, images and memos from this time period.