We all know that creativity is key to unleashing the true potential of your team. However, there is a growing trend that is being adopted by the likes of Google, American Express, Harvard, Cisco, and many other well-known businesses that is intriguing. These companies and their leaders are using the unlikely skill of comedy improv within their businesses to help improve their team cohesion, performance, and to boost creativity. In this post, you will get just a taste of how they are doing that and why it is becoming so popular.

There are many subtle similarities between comedians and business. For example, in order for a comedian to be successful, they need to be able to engage large groups of people and to adapt to changing circumstances quickly. Moreover, they have to look for those not-so-obvious connections between things and quickly deal with and overcome failure. A comedian has to have a steely resilience about them as a minimal requirement.

Similarly, in business, these exact traits would deem an individual to be successful or not. These are just a few of the reasons that companies are using improv skills to help their teams and leaders develop their skills and unleash their inner creativity, enabling them to think differently than those around them.

Four Rules of Improv to Get You Started

As we’ve mentioned, the same improv principals that make an individual a good improv comedian, when applied to a person’s professional life, can improve and boost specific soft skills that are intrinsically linked with success.

  1. Be Supportive of Those Around You. Some people will make others look bad in order for themselves to appear better. The principle here is that this approach is not nice, nor can it be sustained. Improv is better for longer when the whole team is involved. In a business environment, give your team the tools they need, develop the talent, and be proud of the team.
  2. Say yes. Watching people disagree is not fun. No is a word that causes frustration, and it immediately stops any positive actions from happening. The principle here, instead of saying no, is to say Yes, and. These two simple words open the doors to let creativity in, meaning in business, you hear the ideas of those around you and do not dismiss those around you without first hearing what they have to say.
  3. Show, don’t tell. It is far more entertaining to see comedians act something out, rather than just speaking about it. This is wholly applicable to the business world. More action, less talk. Showing what you can do, instead of simply talking about things is key to getting things done.
  4. See failure as an opportunity. In the world of improv, failures are celebrated, and any mistakes are seen as gifts. In business, it is easy to become distracted and forget that errors can often be one of the best tools for creativity and for team cohesion.

These are just a few of the improv skills that are increasingly finding their way into corporate leadership. Would you like to learn more? Contact me today!