The Improv of Life and Business 

Do you have a team of trusted partners who are feeding you the lines that you can build on or are they trying to trip you up to laugh at you rather than with you? 
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The team from Peeplcoach standing in front of a graffiti wall.

In preparation for this year’s annual strategic planning day, the Peeplcoach team attended a half day workshop to put us into a more creative mindset. 

We wanted a team building activity that would help bring us together as a team. We wanted an activity that would meet some key selection criteria. An activity that: 

  1. we could all do. 
  2. would create a level playing field across the entire team, where no individual would go in with an advantage or disadvantage
  3. would push us out of our comfort zones. 
  4. helped us to think differently. 

As we walked into the room there definitely was some hesitation. Frowning faces and crossed arms and I might even have heard a murmur of, ‘Oh this is not my thing.’  We were doing an improv session! 

Despite the caution, by the end of the session, we ALL loved it, and we also learned a bit about ourselves as well as learning about us as a team and a business. 

Now, the rules of improv are simple. 

  1. If the scenes make people laugh the teams wins – there are no individual winners or champions in improv. 
  2. Every word in improv is important. The smaller connecting words, such as ‘and’, ‘but’ and ‘the’, are just as important as the one liner that gets the laugh. Because, without connecting words the funny words don’t make sense.
  3. Improv only works when everyone/your partner has your back and you have theirs. 
  4. Improv only works if your partner is feeding you the lines that you can build on. It does not work if your partner is hogging the best lines and words for themselves or even worse, feeding you lines that are difficult to build on. 
  5. Improv is a team sport! With a team you are just a one person show. 
  6. Failure is going to happen. Celebrate it, forgive yourself, forgive others and move on.
  7. You never know what you are going to get. In the end it isn’t about the word, it’s about what you do with that word.
  8. Don’t be too fixated on outcomes and having a rigid plan. This can stifle improv because when the word you didn’t plan for comes along, then you freeze. 
  9. Be present and really listen to your partner. Pay attention to your environment and work with that whilst being aware of the longer-term goal. 
  10. Have fun and keep the scenes short. 

I loved the rules of improv, and really believe that they are rules that could be followed for your business, your team, your life.  

As you think about how your life, business and team are going, are you following the 10 rules of improv? If not, what can you do about it?  

Do you have a team of trusted partners who are feeding you the lines that you can build on or are they trying to trip you up to laugh at you rather than with you?  

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My name is James and I am Head of Customer Partnerships, Co-founder and a Coach at Peeplcoach. I bring over 25 years business leadership experience performing roles in executive general management, board directorship, business development and operational leadership. My career has covered multiple industries including building technology services, asset management, renewable energy and not-for-profit with large multi-national corporations, private companies and SMEs including Honeywell, Plenary Group and The Hunger Project.

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In all my roles, my passion has been to assist and enable individuals to find value and fulfilment in their work and to support organisations for sustainable growth. I believe in being courageous, challenging ourselves for growth, equality and fairness and laughing every day. Simply, I want to help people find what they love to do and organisations to be successful.

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My name is Richard and am the Sales Manager here at Peeplcoach with over 10+ solution sales experience across leadership development & coaching, recruitment and SaaS technologies within the IT & Digital space.

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