Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Improvisation in leadership: More than just making stuff up!

Business - and life - no longer has a script. Leaders must be able to adapt to life as it happens, not as they had planned.

That's why the first key skill of ragtag leadership is improvisation

There are two sides to improv: performance and engineering. Performance improv is what we're used to seeing on Who's Line Is It Anyway, where actors and comedians have to respond to challenges on the spot. Engineering improv is what we see in the typical kiwi number 8 wire mentality, where you use what you've got to make what you need.

The myth of improv is that it's made up on the spot. In a way, improv takes more preparation than reading a script.

You can rely on a script. With improv, you rely on yourself - and the environment and people around you. Performance improv takes a special kind of attitude, one of trust, one of acknowledging the worst that can happen and ensuring things go in a different direction. 

What kind of prep do you need for improv? 
  • Knowledge. Know as much as you can about the area you'll be facing, and keep an open mind to new sources of information.
  • Curiosity. You'll never know all that you need to know, so keep an open, childlike, curious mind. 
  • Bouncy. Don't get bogged down by failure, real or apparent. Bounce. Keep moving. The language of improv theatre talks about accepting offers that others give you. Accept offers from life and keep things moving.
Some other great resources on improv:
And here's our fearless Captain Mal doing some improv of his own, from the movie Serenity:

Posted via email from Ragtag Leadership

1 comment:

Patricia Ryan Madson said...

Thank you so much for mentioning my book, Improv Wisdom. I hope you have a chance to read it and that you find it worthwhile. Great website!
Best wishes,
Patricia Ryan Madson