AARP Situational Adaptability Session Recap

“You can always pay closer attention to someone than you thought you could.” Alan Alda

First off, thank you all for being vulnerable and putting yourselves out there for something of an unorthodox learning experience. We have compiled takeaways for you here in 3 major categories.

  1. Session Recap

  2. Reinforcements to keep up the Practice

  3. Other Recommendations

Let’s connect/follow me on LinkedIn. I put a lot of stock into growing my network, sharing knowledge and would love to have you there.

Connect with Jordana too because she’s a cool cat.

1. Session Recap

Session Objectives:

Situational Adaptability Anchors:

  1. Picks up on situational cues and adjusts in the moment

  2. Readily adapts personal, interpersonal, and leadership behavior

  3. Understands that different situations may call for different approaches

  4. Can act differently depending on the circumstances

Improv Anchors:

  1. Being Present, Aware, In the Moment

  2. Adaptability, Pivoting, Being Others Focused

  3. Empathy, Adjusting to the needs of the room

  4. Listening for Values-How they feel

Taking care of each other "Making each other look good and insanely smart"! Improvisers learn quickly that in order to take creative risks and collaborate at the levels needed to create improv on the stage, you must become each other’s caretaker. We support and take care of each other so there is no worry of failing or looking silly. What if we all encouraged and supported each other this way at work?

Adaptability and Resilience Our brains develop patterns quickly and how even minor changes in patterns can feel disruptive. Habits are powerful and playing games that purposely disrupt patterns can increases mental agility and psychological adaptability. These are essential for doing improv but even more important to a successful life in which we will have to navigate change that we do not see coming.

Developing Leaders in a VUCA environment white paper.

Listening and Empathy

Video on Empathy Listening and Empathy go hand in hand, sometimes we think we are listening but we aren't truly making it about the other person. We can't fix it, sometimes we just have to listen, show empathy.

Video on Listening- Sometimes listening is silent. People want to he heard not fixed.

If you want to be liked, loved and respected, listen like your life depends on it. 

  • Most people think that they are good listeners, however more often than not, we are not really listening, we are just waiting to respond.  

  • I think we also forget that listening is more than hearing the words that someone is speaking, and we are not listening to the whole person. 

  • Something like 93% of all communication is nonverbal.  This means that words aren’t as important than we might think. Tone, facial expression and body language are all powerful forms of expression.

  • Research suggest that we remember 25-50% of what we hear.  That means when we talk to our boss or colleagues for 10 minutes, they pay attention to less than half of the conversation.  

  • We all underestimate the power of being a good listener.  

Listening Challenge Challenge yourself to try this exercise as much as possible throughout your day. It works best when you are in a one on one meeting or in a casual capacity with a colleague or work mate. You might not want to use it in a staff meeting, or folks might go thinking you've been hitting the happy stuff. It's simple. When someone is speaking to you, wait 5 seconds before responding. Count in your head down from 5, and then respond. Sounds easy right? Just you wait and reap the results of what might surprise you.

2-Practicing Reinforcements

Take Improv Classes for Professionals in your City-I have counterparts in all major cities and beyond, just ask me to connect you and I will make the recommendation.

Books to Read:

The Fearless Organization

Blogs by Kristy about all things Improv and Learning.

Thesis and article written by Jordana Cole (click on the button to download in the upper right on the page):

Creativity Post Article - Making It Up On the Spot: How Improv Comedy Creates Great Leaders


All of you reached beyond your comfort zone and worked out muscles that do not get worked out consistently. Humility and Passion are hard to teach, and you all demonstrated that you have it. Based on our time together, I observed more opportunities for practicing Active Listening, Capitalizing on the collective, diversity of mindset and getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. What does that mean?