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3 Improv Exercises That Can Change the Way Your Team Works

Stashed in: Gratitude, Risk!, Teamwork, HBR

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Take responsible risk

In an improv theatre, failure is ever present; even Second City’s scenes don’t work a lot of the time.  But our actors’ material works often enough that they’ve learned to accept little failures on the way to larger successes. Business leaders need to embrace risk in the same way.  This can be difficult since most organizations reward prudence, planning, and the elimination of variables that can cause problems.  But most decisions have to be made with imperfect information anyway. To navigate those grey zones, we advocate risk sharing – using your ensemble to help you solve vexing problems and support you when things go wrong.

Exercise: Two people engage in a conversation about anything, but have to begin every sentence with the words, “thank you.” This underscores a key idea in improv:  everything your colleagues offer is a gift about which you should feel grateful.  When comedians, or leaders, create an environment that welcomes and values contributions, people are willing to give bolder, more honest comments and take more risks.

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