Archive for the ‘Engagement’ Category

Yes, AndIn Yes, And, The Second City executives Kelly Leonard and Tom Yorton describe how the fundamentals of great improvisational comedy and can be applied to business. Tapping into their years of experience running the theater troupe responsible for some of today’s biggest comedy superstars, Leonard and Yorton provide leaders with a guide to using improv skills to increase their employees’ engagement and innovation output. In order to master successful improvisation, leaders must enable their employees to say, “Yes, and…” to new ideas and work as ensembles by eliminating their fear of failure.

According to Leonard and Yorton:

  • Leaders must embrace the fundamentals of great improvisation. By promoting the values of creativity, communication, and collaboration, organizations can improve their employee engagement, innovation output, and customer relations.
  • As organizations start to improvise more, they must affirm and build upon employees’ ideas. When organizations take the ideas their employees put forward under serious consideration, they embrace the two fundamental words of improvisation: “Yes, and…”
  • It is vital for organizations to promote their teams to work as ensembles. To work together as effective ensembles, employees must learn how to put their teams’ goals ahead of their own personal glory.
  • Co-creation is a powerful tool that takes improvisation to the next level. Just as improvisers take creative suggestions from other performers and audience members, organizations can improve their final products by involving their customers in the creative process.
  • Failure must be viewed as part of the creative process. By acknowledging that failure is not the opposite of success, organizations can produce more cutting-edge innovations.
  • Everyone in an organization must learn to listen deeply. Leaders can broaden their employees’ perspectives and increase their creative output by teaching them to listen for the sake of truly understanding others–not just responding.

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It’s My Company Too!It’s My Company Too! is based on interviews and research into eight companies that have transformed their businesses through engaged employees. Kenneth R. Thompson, Ramon L. Benedetto, Thomas J. Walter, and Molly Meyer reveal how these companies learned that employees who take responsibility for their actions and share company values help them outperform the competition. The companies profiled did not create their cultures overnight, but invested a significant amount of time into this process and chose to trust employees to do the right thing.

According to the authors:

  • Leaders who get great results from their employees are able to find the balance between transactional and transformational leadership when they instill responsibility in their employees.
  • Ethical organizations have clear values and make the effort to operate in ways that support those values.
  • When employees are engaged in a visionary plan, they eliminate silo thinking and seek to grow the organization as a whole.
  • Processes that can help organizations grow work best when they are measurable. Leaders must consciously define the metrics that are vital to their companies’ growth.
  • Employees who feel valued through recognition and rewards will perform better in their roles.
  • When employee action is the expected norm, employees become entangled in the organization and are motivated to find solutions to problems even though it does not affect their roles directly.
  • Failure should be viewed as an opportunity to improve rather than something that merits punitive action.

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