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Improv in Organizational Development

“How could “improv” possibly relate to the field of Organizational Development?” This was my question as I anticipated attending the Triangle OD Network’s January workshop Add FIZ to your MOJO: Build Improvisation Skills for Increased Interaction. Having attended this interactive workshop, lead by Greg Hohn of the Transactors Improv Company, and worked with multiple leaders and teams in their mission to build trust, improve collaboration, and innovate - the potential benefit of having an improv mindset is becoming clearer to me. Some thoughts…

What if we approached our work like improv actors—basically, working without a script? When we drop expectations of being in control, do we free ourselves to be more aware, to “be here now”?

If we anticipated the unknown with the excitement of actors in an improv skit, rather than with fear, would we be better positioned to lead through the “change curve” and understand the true sources of opportunity and risk?

Would the quality of our collaborations be better if we truly listened to others—rather than the script in our heads about what to say next? Would our solutions be more innovative if we built on others’ ideas with an improviser’s “Yes, and…” rather than quelching the discussion process with “No, but…”?

If you are thinking “yes” to these questions like I am, perhaps it’s time to add improv skills to our professional “mojo”!

June Mullaney Mader April, 2013

What Our Clients Say

June quickly translated her valuable corporate experience to our non-profit situation. She effectively lead us every step of the way in the development of a Strategic Plan, so that now we have a shared sense of organizational direction. June's broad skill set - ranging from the technical rigor in designing and interpreting a stakeholder survey to the professionalism and compassion she showed in coaching our staff through the resulting organizational change - positions her as a unique consultant for a small, dynamic organization.

-Dan McLellan, Leader, Durham non-profit organization