Authors Kelly Leonard & Tom Yorton, of Second City fame, discuss the benefits of comedy and improv in the workplace
For weeks now, your top client has been dancing around a decision.
It's been a careful ballet just getting him to this point, but he can't commit. You are, in fact, getting a little worried that he might waltz right out of the deal, and you may need some fancy moves to keep things on track.
So how do you learn to be light on your feet and creative in this situation- and others? Start with Yes, And by Kelly Leonard & Tom Yorton.
In their long careers with Second City, Chicago's famed comedy group, Leonard and Yorton have had the good fortune to watch talented performers shine through the use of improvisation. Improv, in comedy and at work, lets practitioners respond more quickly to a situation-sometimes with the bonus of comic relief.
Comedy and business have three major things in common, say the authors: "Creativity, Communication, and Collaboration," and there are seven elements inside those three basic pillars. The bedrock of them all is the concept of "Yes, And," which is a way to keep ideas flowing, solve problems, and keep employees involved. Once you understand the power of Yes, And the next step is to eliminate all teams in your organization and build an "ensemble." Teams are adversarial, the authors say; ensembles are collaborative. Let ensembles collaborate freely by ceding control, showing respect and teaching them to let go of fear.
Know how to use customer feedback as a "co-creation tool." Remember that people are more likely to embrace an idea if they helped form it. Pay attention to what's going on in the world, where your business is and where your clients sit. Don't be afraid to look foolish when utilizing humor in your business improv.
And finally, learn how to "Follow the Follower." You aren't an expert on everything, and "Sometimes being a good boss means getting out of the way."