Writing in the Harvard Business Review Tom Yorton, CEO of Second City Works and author of Yes, And: How Improvisation Reverses ‘No, But’ Thinking and Improves Creativity and Collaboration, shares three key principles as applicable to business as they are to creating an engaging scene:
- Always take care of your partners: Like members of a stage ensemble, your teammates need your cooperation and support. Pay attention and don’t grandstand!
- Take responsible risks: Even in the best improv theatre, not every scene works. Accepting little failures paves the way to big success, especially if you share the risk with team members who can help when things go off track.
- Follow the Follower: When a scene is working, the audience can’t tell who is “leading” it—and doesn’t care. Even if you initiate an idea, be willing to follow someone who takes it in a different direction.
We see another huge similarity as well: Whether in the comedy world or the corporate world, no ensemble or team will thrive unless members truly listen to one another.
We want to hear: Watch a comedy sketch, for example, from Saturday Night Live to Monty Python. Can you see how the ensemble members support one another by listening and building on ideas? Are you part of a work team that does the same? To join the conversation, click "comments" on our Community of Practice Forum.
If you would like to read more about creating a habit around masterful communication, check out our book: Be Quiet, Be Heard: The Paradox of Persuasion.