Improvisational comedy is a performance-based art where scenes are created spontaneously. What do improv and effective leadership & teamwork have in common? Comedic improvisers tap into their personal creativity, are adaptable, turn failures into meaningful “offers,” and develop deep connections with their teams and audiences. The result is a unique experience that engages and inspires. The skills comedic improvisers use are the same skills required for creative leadership.
At Centric’s September innovation workshop, ActUp Consulting’s Beth St. Clair shared some of the basic tenets of improvisation. Participants not only had fun unleashing their personal creativity, they also learned some valuable lessons on using improv for better execution.
1. PAY ATTENTION
Most people may have some rough plans for their day, but don’t wake up with a script to follow each time. You don’t know everything that’s going to happen. It is vital to pay attention to everything and everyone around us. One key to successful improv acting is to pay attention to the spoken, and unspoken signs. The same applies in the workplace.
Be open to new ideas. It is important to hear everyone’s point of view when thinking up solutions to a new challenge. Not all ideas are good ideas, but don’t get in the habit of shutting them down. If your organization does not encourage acceptance, many ideas may go untold and unshared. More ideas and more variety of ideas will only help increase the chances for ideas that lead to new solutions.
3. WORK AS A TEAM
Everyone must rely on the team around them at all times. Group collaboration is not about anyone being a star. Everyone has different strengths and different weaknesses. Teamwork will help hide the weaknesses and highlight the strengths.
Every day we have different ups and downs. Each member of the team needs to commit to give their best effort each day. Your best may fluctuate, that’s okay, as long as its your best. If you start something and don’t think it will work, commit (as a team) to trying something else you know will work.
5: HAVE FUN
Someone once said, “Today is the youngest you’re ever going to be, act like it.” Improv comedy is all about having fun. Troupes know that when a team can break the ice and laugh together, that is when real productivity will begin. There is a time for work and a time for play. You should be enjoying yourself all the time.
Beth St. Clair’s passion is helping individuals and businesses ActUp, or take radical action for their personal and professional development. Her team at ActUp Consulting offers leadership coaching, applied improvisation, teambuilding, facilitation, and business planning services.