How to Handle a Sticky Movie Theater Seat

My Mom has always told me that when I was a little girl, I liked to clean up messes. I guess this was odd to her, because most kids did not enjoy this task. She said she noticed this about me early on when I helped her with at her home daycare wiping faces and changing diapers, all with a big smile on my face. She asked me why I liked cleaning things up so much and I said to her, “Because I like to see something go from messy to clean”. This trend continued throughout my life, even through my work. There is nothing more satisfying than transformation for the better or taking a challenging situation and helping make it less challenging.

Talking to an L&D leader the other day, I was yet reminded again of my gravitation to the messier parts of work. He and I were discussing his 2018 strategy and where our support might serve him best. We landed on the best ways we can help are within the uncomfortable and yes, messier topics. The areas that he described as “movie theater seats”. He explained that just like a sticky seat in a movie theater that no one wants to touch, there are top challenges within L&D today that bring up the same feelings, and having the experts of “getting comfortable with the uncomfortable” to help support with these areas is where we would have the biggest impact.

Call it whatever you’d like, I’ll gladly accept being an expert on dealing with the difficult and uncomfortable, I’ve been living in that space my whole life.

This clever analogy got me thinking about going to see the new Jumanji movie and making a list of all the “sticky movie theater seat” challenges our unique methodology can help leaders tackle in 2018. So, I did both.

1.      Dealing with Change -Change isn’t easy, and sometimes difficult conversations need to happen.

How our methodology can help.

2.      Diversity & Inclusion -We know. These are difficult conversations. At any level, it’s never easy to talk about diversity and inclusion. People are afraid to engage in conversations that highlight our differences. It’s only logical that comedy–used the right way–can help.

3.      Ethics & Compliance-This is the seat you really don’t want to sit in, but you have no choice. It's critical learning that needs to be heard. Here's an idea, short, compelling and comical videos to drive engagement and make it stick.

4.      Crises Management- “Improvisation is an orientation towards the unexpected and a practice in navigating complex human interactions while achieving an important goal.”

5.      Multi-Generational Workforce- "All of Us are Better Than One of Us" is at the heart of improvisation. With multiple generations in the workplace, it is challenging to drive inclusive behaviors leading to inclusive cultures.

So, while our work aligns well within various L&D strategies, we’ll gladly accept your sticky movie theater seats and support your efforts to manage the more difficult and uncomfortable areas. Putting on my apron as I type, big smile on my face.

Side note: Jumanji was excellent. I left unscathed despite some treacherous popcorn and soda spills, adding to an already sticky seat situation.

Kristy West is the Founder of BraveSpace an Applied Improv Facilitator and Speaker in Atlanta, GA