Sunday, May 21st, 2017
CAN YOU DANCE? CAN YOU IMPROVISE?
I am putting together a book of the algorithms of leadership for 20/20.
It is like translating art into systemic action.
It is based on my very up close work with CEO’s and the development of CEO’s to be.
It will have 52 short entries–yep, one for every week
Short because CEO’s don’t have time to read–even the bookworms among them.
52 because top leaders need a little nudge every week to improve their artistry (and I do believe extraordinary CEO’s are artist/leaders.
The topic of improvisation as an algorithm for leaders 20/20 deserves a book–that CEO’s won’t read so here is the essence.
The world is nuts now and will be more so in 20/20. It will take the art of ‘flow’ to maneuver through the obstacles and the possibilities embedded in them for you business.. Flow means flexibility to move, staying in readiness for movement (like the back line in tennis) joining rather than resisting, being present and real, staying relaxed while not knowing the next step, and being in tune and ready to dance with others.
l. Do you think you have had a good week when you commit to and follow-up on every item in your calendar?
2. Do you table good ideas or hot issues if they come up at a meeting but are not on the agenda?
3. Do you sigh with resignation or bristle when someone suggests a major change to a project that is half way through and over budget?
4. Do you accept that your strategy is only an indicator for the direction of you company or do you hold it as sacred?
5. Are your meetings all about the past (reporting what happened) or the future (fixing problems or planning) with no looking at the present (lack of energy, irritation with others, dullness,
a feeling of faking)?
6 .Can you have very tough conversations while staying relaxed and open to being wrong?
Check out these behaviors for improvisation in comedy, dance and jazz and see what you can apply to your leadership:
—Always start with ‘yes’ joining the person or project. Don’t leave your partner stranded with ‘no’
after they have made a start. Join, then redirect. Say ‘yes’ AND—-
—Make a clear statement in response to give your partner. Give the person and the project something to work with? Do not be muddy or nebulous. Allow a reaction to occur. Add a clear solution or idea. Top leader opinions do not weigh too much if they are helpful and not personal.
—In improvisation work, there can be no mistakes. You are in the moment dancing, playing jazz, comedy) and you have to continue while on the spot and so you work together until it becomes right, resolved, finished.
—Improvisation removes habitual patterns by changing something in the moment. I’m thinking of a meeting with dead energy where I had every keep moving around the table as we talked, reversing direction whenever I felt like it. This led to many stand-up meetings. Meetings are the most calcified tool used today. 20/20 will demand different
—There is exciting energy in a moment of improvisation. I never rehearsed an interview of the CEO’ I worked with
for presentations. You can’t be fake or overly formal in a spontaneous moment. This is the authenticity moment that can galvanize an organization. Authentic does not mean sharing thoughts about your mother-in-law (positive or negative).
—Be accessible. You have to recognize and be open to an opportunity for connection when it crosses your path.You have to go out into your world and company and bump into your customers, your associates, other ideas, and the irritations of the world. This gives you fodder to play with later. Or an opportunity to dance right there in the here and now where opportunity lives.