Improv for Team building....well..yeah.

Pizza, beer, business school graduates and improv games.  Mix for 3 hours and serve. I lead a class last night for a company that wanted their new-hires to bond into a team.

My instructions were to lead them through the 'fun stuff' and not spend too much time talking about how the theories/practice of improv relate to the work they were hired to do.

This is tough for me...I love the connections people in business make between their work and the improv.  But a funny thing happened about two hours into the workshop.  We had just finished game called expert panel:  4 players act as a guest on a talk show and respond to questions one-word-at-a-time.*  One of the participants spoke up.

"But in business sometimes one person has the information that's needed to move things forward.  This game makes the answers random."

I paused and let those words sit in the air for a few moments.  And what I had hoped would happen - did.  Another team member spoke up.

"It won't be random if everyone builds on what's been said before."

We had a  great conversations about the nature of the team and it’s relationship to the contribution of the individual.

Here are a few of the things we talked about:

  • Sometimes team work is more important than individual contribution
  • The team takes you places (offers strengths) that are unexpected and innovative
  • Separate brain-storming and evaluation of actionable tasks
  • A cohesive team energy (trust and respect) makes for a healthy team - which increases productivity and reduces attrition

Can you add more?

*Find more Improv Games in The Playbook: Improv Games for Performers