Posted tagged ‘improvisation’

conference room combat to improv jazz – true story

October 28, 2010

This is a true story of Improv Leadership creating more dynamic presentations.

This is a guest post from a good friend and colleague of mine, Eric. He is a senior healthcare architect who has mastered the art of co-design with his clients using improv leader and solution-focus techniques. Here’s his story:

My work as a healthcare planner requires a capacity to talk about complex medical issues and translate those issues into a spatial solution for my firm’s clients; there is, of course, never enough time, space or money!

In the past, those meetings have been “conference room combat” for me, now they are “improv jazz”!

The difference?

  • I have come to recognize that the best solution is not “my solution” but is truly owned by the folks who will use the end result (the implemented plan). By freeing myself up from the presumption that, as the “planning expert” I must generate the “best plan”, I create the opportunity for me to participate freely in the dialogue.  That dialogue, in turn, is free to head into unexpected turf and unconventional, but effective solutions.
  • Once I frame alternatives as potentials for them to review, criticize, examine, take apart and reassemble, clients actually respect my professional skills more, rather than less.  It removes the “yes/no” charge from discussions about solutions, and directs the discussion into the wonderful grey area of “what if?” where true can emerge.  We focus intuitively on the positive and the potential, and view obstacles as opportunities to be mastered!
  • By engaging in dialogue, my clients understand that I view their expertise and experience as critical to the process.  When clinicians are invited to participate, they focus on real issues, rather than “grandstanding” or politicizing the process.

In “conference room combat”, someone may appear to win, but ultimately, everyone loses. The end product suffers.  By creating an environment that allows fluidity of thought everyone has a voice at the table, and the result is an improvisational work session that can truly lead to better, more dynamic and optimal solutions.

Eric R. Lautzenheiser, AIA, ACHA

Director of Health Facilities Planning

Francis Cauffman

If you have a story to share and want to be a guest blogger here, let me know.

Improvisational Leadership – positive influence for everything

June 24, 2010

powerful & positive

I just led a two-day course on Improvisational Leadership. Not only was it a blast, I learned a lot from the students as well.

Some of the key lessons that the students talked about were:

  • the improvisational tools can be layered on almost any management approach to add even more value
  • any culture can increase its capability to improvise in ever-changing situations… and the more leadership models and rewards positive and risk-taking and adaptation, the faster the organization can improvise
  • the “yes and” approach can help make any relationship better – even with oneself
  • one of the side benefits of using improvisational leaders
    hip techniques is being more approachable and popular

Please join in on the posts talking about improvisational culture and what you think that looks like.

Got Improv Culture?

June 3, 2010

Can your team jam?

Here are a few of the top characteristics of an improvisational culture. How many does your organization have?

  1. Clear goals, great training & flexible plans – allow people to use talent and goal focus to grab opportunities of the moment
  2. Moments of “group flow” – that particular state of heightened consciousness in the team that fosters great creativity and very high engagement(1)
  3. Innovation emerges from the bottom up – often from random encounters with potential customers asking radical questions
  4. Collaborative creativity feels like “jamming” (2)– it’s energizing, unpredictable and produces great results
  5. New ideas valued – even those that aren’t used are seen as positive contributions to the group
  6. Yes and” practiced – rather than criticizing ideas and practices and build on them. No wasting time and energy with blaming. Jump straight to what you do like about a plan and guiding it in a positive direction with positive questions about how to make it fit certain criteria, etc. (3)

Here’s the good news. Cultures can become more improvisational.
Whether it’s a slow change over time, or a rapid transformation (with the right guidance).

(1) Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, University of Chicago Psychologist

(2) John Kao, Harvard Professor

(3) Bob Faw, author of this blog

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