The focus of this program is on the skills embedded in Improv and how they can be applied to foster innovation, grow a culture of collaboration, enhance the sense of “team,” and manage in a way that instills “followership”. This is a highly interactive experience, where participants discover and practice these skills through improv exercises, and then practice applying them to real-life work situations.
A global IT company found that as it grew, and as its status grew, new hires were becoming too risk averse, and innovation was suffering. Through improv-based workshops, we helped them grow a culture of collaborative creativity and trust. The “evangelicals” and sales of an international software company were having trouble connecting with their clients. By their own admission they were putting their message before relationship building and connecting. They knew it wasn’t working, but didn’t know how to change. Over 2 days we worked with 130 of their top producers to help them discover the skills to connect, build trust, and relax while interacting with clients.
In a national organic food chain, employees were promoted to department managers without the skills to manage so that direct reports felt competent, valued, confident, and empowered. They were just telling people what to do. Over 2 years, we worked with most of their Northern California stores delivering half-day workshops that—using the skills embedded improv—allowed them to manage in a way that increased employee engagement, added intrinsic value to the work, and created a sense of equality. The workshops for these three clients were specifically designed for their needs. What they all share is that they were grounded in specific skills that can be learned and practiced, not just “understood.”
Lasting change comes from changes in behavior, not just understanding. To that end, LifePlays’ workshops are highly interactive, and the new skills and behaviors are grounded in real-life work situations. We use Improvisational Theater as the learning mode. At the core of Improv are 5 tenets or skills:
- Listen in order to receive
- Build on what you receive
- Defer Judgment
- Make your partner look brilliant
- Be in service of the larger picture
Participants will discover and practice these skills first through improv exercises followed by focused debriefs, and then we will segue into practicing them in relevant contexts. After experiencing the flow, creativity, and co-creation in the improv realm, this grounds it in real world application.
The focus is about doing, not just knowing or understanding. The improvisational skills mastered in this workshop are mapped to multiple leadership and team competencies including:
- Building trust
- Listening and awareness
- Creating a true sense of Team
- Bringing out the best in those around you.
This workshop will be delivered in a half-day format. For high performance teams, follow-up workshops can give astounding results.
About Chris Miller
Chris has been teaching, performing, and coaching improv in San Francisco and internationally for nearly 20 years. In 2000, he cofounded the company LifePlays with Ann Swanberg. With LifePlays, Chris has spent the last 10 years working with leading Silicon Valley companies, developing and delivering workshops on Collaborative Leadership, fostering innovation, management skills, and team development. In 2010 he designed and implemented a half-day workshop for Google on innovation, which is currently being delivered worldwide on Google campuses. At Google he also designed and delivered many workshops on Team Development, People Managing, and Collaborative Communication. He became fluent in Design Thinking when he helped design The Big Ideas Fest, which is a 4-day conference focused on innovation in education, using the Design Thinking model. Chris holds a degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and is currently on the faculty of the University of San Francisco where he teaches consulting in the Executive MBA program. Among others, Chris has worked with Google, Whole Foods, Genentech, Stanford Hospitals and Clinics, Infineon, Wells Fargo, The World Health Organization, and Microsoft.