BizProv Fall 2019 Recaps and Reinforcements

Week 2 Teaming and Collaboration

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation." - Plato

Together, we created a whole new way for Santa Claus to get into houses at Christmas!

Together, we created a whole new way for Santa Claus to get into houses at Christmas!

Hello BizProv'ers:

Here’s what we covered in Week 2:

Teaming and Collaboration

Improv is not a solo act….ever.  It is always about the group and working together.  Even when there are only 2 people on stage, there is no success if they are not working together.  In business there is a huge gap in ensemble building skills.  There is a need to be right, a need to steal focus, and the need to appear to be in control. In improv, we teach that the group’s goals are far greater than the individual’s. When a group can learn to solve problems together, they bond, learn to trust, learn to lead, learn to follow and become a tight unit that nothing can stop.

  • Trust- At the heart of collaboration is trust. Creating an environment of trust in the workplace is critical when people need to bond together to build something bigger than they can do on their own. It is the foundation to productive and successful teams.

  • Agreement (Acceptance) The golden rule of improv.  The secret sauce. 

  • The concept of agreement in improv is taught so that performers can actually tell a story and build something together.  It is sometimes referred to as “The yes, and rule.” This means that you practice saying yes, and remove all negation from a scene, agree and add, acknowledge and add, hear them and add, recognize AND not BUT and add.

  • As organizations grow increasingly interdependent and team-based, they are becoming even more reliant on interpersonal relationships in order to function well.

Saying Yes, And

Agreement is about saying "Yes, And." It does not mean that you have to act on every idea someone introduces.  By acknowledging and accepting what someone offers you allow for more ideas to grow and flourish.  People appreciate the sheer fact that you took in what they had to say, and you will reap many benefits in return. Saying “No, because” or “Yes, but” is the equivalent of shutting someone “the person” down completely. Saying “No” generates a threat response and creates a form of social avoidance, thus limiting your ability to influence others as they seek to avoid experiencing rejection.

When we practice being spontaneous, we learn to accept our own ideas. It is equally important to accept others’ ideas. The “yes, and…” rule is a foundation in improv for the stage. We build trust by accepting others’ “offers”, and then, using our spontaneous responses, we build on those offers to create something. An offer is an improv term that refers to anything, ANYTHING that the other person says or does. It can be a word, a gesture, an attitude, a request. Anything. Our job as improvisers is to recognize the offers and use them.

Let’s look at the “yes” part: Organizations lose speed and opportunities, because ideas are rejected without really being explored. This happens for a variety of reasons. New ideas may mean more work;others might get more credit; the idea feels risky; someone thinks he has a “better” idea of his own. However, every time we say “no” to an idea instead of “yes”, an opportunity is lost. That does not mean,of course, that evaluation is not useful. Or that we should commit to every idea. When we depend on our judgment muscles exclusively, though, we throw the baby out with the bathwater, the electricity out with the light bulb.

Keith Johnstone, an improv guru and the author of “Impro” says, “There are people who prefer to say‘ Yes’, and there are people who prefer to say ‘No’. Those who say ‘Yes’ are rewarded by the adventures they have. Those who say ‘No’ are rewarded by the safety they attain.”

Source Credit

My favorite research and resources for "teaming and psychological safety":

Book Recommendations:


Try to remove No and Yes but from your vocabulary (try a full day)  in conversations and report back!

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