When teams click, they can achieve amazing results. But facilitating team dynamics can be challenging. Employing techniques used by improvisational performers can help ensure everyone on the team has a voice, is heard and is part of the final decision or solution.
In this episode, Gail and Erin talk with Joshua Kirk, owner and co-founder of Improv Leap, which provides improvisational experiences and workshops for businesses, schools, and community and religious groups to help individuals and teams connect and communicate more effectively.
In this episode, Gail, Erin, and Josh identify three ways improv can be applied to business:
- Have fun. If we’re having fun that means we’re making a connection and appreciating one another.
- Let go of control. Accept what is. Stay open and responsive to what is happening in the moment and go with it.
- Put your focus on the other. The goal is for the team to look good, not you alone.
At first, it may seem that doing improv and running an organization have very little to do with each other. Josh explains that being successful at improv requires a set of skills that one needs for teams and team members to be effective. You and your teammate have to be working toward the same goal and supporting one another so that the performance as a whole succeeds. This requires trust, paying careful attention to what the other is saying, having patience with the process, being outwardly aware rather than inwardly focused, and working with whatever is being presented in the moment.
A fundamental principle in improv, says Josh, is “yes… and.” Instead of questioning or rejecting what the other person is saying, you say “yes” to whatever it is, acknowledge its legitimacy as a contribution, and find a way to incorporate it into the final outcome. Sometimes that may mean redirecting or reframing it within the larger context of the discussion. The critical objective is that everyone’s input is valued and validated, so in the end it’s not just some team members who drive the outcome but the whole team. “We either win together or lose together,” says Josh. Breakthroughs happen when collectively the team achieves something that the individual members could not arrive at on their own. The next time you’re tempted to say, “Yes, but…”, switch to “Yes, and…” instead.
When we accept what is, in the present moment, we can choose how we will respond without rejecting it. “Everything is a gift,” says Josh, a potential opportunity, a way to move forward. Set aside judgments of right or wrong, good or bad, and examine the possibilities. Judgment cripples creativity. We find freedom in choice.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Josh’s insights on how to stay fully engaged throughout the business day, how to get past fear of failure, and more.
Mentioned in this Podcast
To learn more about Josh and the experiences he offers, visit the website for Improv Leap.
To explain the principle of “yes… and” Josh uses the example of a colleague who suggests buying a million Koosh balls to give out to employees to relieve stress. If you’re not familiar with Koosh balls, you can see for yourself on BasicFun.com.