The true test of your ability to get the job done is when you’re working off script. How skilled is your team at dealing with the unexpected or innovating on the spot?
The reality is the skill of improvisation is something we can all hone, all the time. Here’s a simple exercise you can start using with your team today. It’s called “Yes, but …” or “Yes, and …”? It’s quick, painless, valuable, and fun.
What to do: Divide the group in half, giving them the task of planning a company party, where one half always says, “Yes, and …” after each team member suggestion and the other half always says, “Yes, but …” (5 minutes). In the debriefing, discuss who was most successful in the short time period and why.
The learning: Even at a basic level, finding common ground with your colleagues is important. An antagonistic relationship benefits no one and the judgment of a “Yes, but …” stifles team members.
Collaboration, creativity, and results grow out of an environment that is positive and affirming.
Tip: Stand in a circle and use “Yes, and …” every time you want to re-energize your brainstorming. Be consistent and persistent with it.
Think of “Yes, but …” or “Yes, and …” as an essential practice for earning your team a standing ovation. Ways to vary it and incorporate it into your day-to-day practices include:
- Start all your routine team meetings with a quick round of “Yes, and …”—all you need is one person to kick it off with a statement or idea. Team members will be alert and ready for “business as unusual.”
- Use it as an after-lunch energizer during a team retreat.
- Use it as reinforcement for key learning about creativity, listening, or collaboration during a training event.
And if none of these strike your fancy, say “Yes, and …” and create one that does.
See how it’s done
Do you hear “improv comedy” and wonder how it works?
It’s a lot like the show, Whose Line is It, Anyway?, where short scenes are collaboratively created on-the-spot based on a suggestion from the audience. The laughs don’t come from clever lines or witty repartee; they naturally arise from the unexpected. In fact, that’s one of the best things about improv comedy: everyone can do it. There’s no theatrical training or funny bone required. That’s because we all improvise, every single day. Life is improvised.
The best way to really get it is to see it for yourself. Click here to watch our clients perform improv comedy with us. You’ll get a lift by watching them explore new ways or working—and laughing—together.
Originally published by BossaNova Consulting Group, Inc.
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