Improvise Your Way to Better Teamwork

Improvise your way to better teamwork

At work, your teams have to take diverse, oddball, and sometimes disagreeable ideas – from each other, their bosses, their boards, or a regulator – and merge them into cohesive productive results. The team members aren’t doing it for fun and they aren’t usually laughing. It can be a struggle. But the weird thing about harmony is that you can improvise your way to better teamwork

I took a cruise that had a Second City improv comedy troupe from Chicago booked as entertainment. The troupe could take off-the-wall ideas from the audience and meld them into cohesive skits on the spot. It was hilarious, and it was fun.

It’s fun to improvise your way to better teamwork.

Improv training can be helpful in your workplace teamwork. Improv troupe members follow certain rules to make their productions work seamlessly. Those same rules can help your team work better, too. During these times of change and uncertainty, a few improv skills can make work entertaining and even fun:

  • Keep your focus on the present, not the past or the future.
  • Leave what “should be” or “used to be” behind. It isn’t that way now.
  • Don’t waste time judging the validity of what is, just accept that it is.
  • Eliminate “Yes, but…” Everyone knows it means “no” and cooperation will go nowhere.
  • Substitute “Yes, and…” Build on what you can agree with.
  • Encourage the efforts of your teammates. We’re all struggling together.

I teach fun group exercises that help demonstrate these skills and allow teams to practice them. The short time it takes will improve team cooperation, motivation, and production. So improvise your way to better teamwork. You haven’t peaked yet!