I have been doing improv since I was in high school and now at the age of 34, I've been teaching improv (to high schools, middle schools and adults alike) for over ten years. The thing that struck me very early on about improv was that it was much more than a performance skill or art form. It was more than a hobby or a rehearsal method. Improv was a way of proceeding. As I continued to get older it became clearer still - improv was a style of leadership.
A few years ago, IBM conducted a study in which CEOs identified creativity as the most important leadership skill for success in business. The study featured over 1,500 heads of business across 60 different nations, representing over 30 industries. This is an encouraging shift in thought from business leaders, but too few are doing anything to cultivate creativity among their teams.
Enter improv. In recent years, Kelly Leonard and the folks at Second City Works have become trend-setters in the business world by bringing comedic improvisation into the workplace. The results: increased productivity, innovation, collaboration and a shift in culture - from a place of "no" to a place of "yes." Comedic Improv is not only for Google, Oracle and the folks in Silicon Valley. It's for everyone from scientists, to teachers, to financial analysts, to marketing professionals. The list does not end. Improvisation will make you a better person and better people make better businesses. So, why should you study improv, Mr. and Mrs. Business Leader?