Why a Team Took an Improv Class – and You Should Too!

In January, I led an Applied Improvisation workshop with Strategic Contact, a group of consultants to the call center industry. Lori Bocklund, Strategic Contact’s President, wrote a really nice blog piece about the experience.

It feels good when someone says nice things about their workshop with you, but beyond that, Lori does a great job distilling her team’s experience:

We learned a few things:

  • How to listen – really listen – to everything someone says
  • How confusing our language and directions can be when there is a lot going on, and how complex direction leads to a “result,” but not necessarily the expected result
  • When resources are “flying blind,” no amount of direction will lead to a successful outcome
  • Agility is key to forward momentum when things develop a bit differently than expected
  • Roles can shift and everything can still work when we are operating as peers, with mutual respect of capabilities and strengths and focus on the “right” things
  • Teamwork is also about having fun; good things can come out of “play”
  • How to build on what someone says, not reject it outright (which is often the reaction when we have points we want to make or think we have the answers)

This last one provided a golden nugget and gave us some new lingo to use in working together. “Yes, and…” is a key to success in improv, and a great way to leverage others’ input and ideas. It lets people take risks, present new ideas, and feel respected and appreciated. It beats “No…” or “Yes, but…” any day. It doesn’t mean we always agree, but we try to listen to what our teammates have to share and use their ideas rather than reject them.”

That was a valuable half day, don’t you think?

These concepts can be applied to almost any industry, and focused on many aspects of your company: customer service, leadership, change management, communication, connecting or breaking down silos – it’s a long list.

Read the whole blog piece – and if you work in the call center industry, maybe your team should be contacting Lori Bocklund and Strategic Contact.