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Practiced Spontaneity: Using Improv Theater Skills to Help Teams Master Change

Summary: To the casual observer, the similarities between the spontaneous approach of improvisational theater and the disciplined methodology of change management may be difficult to see, but there are many parallels. Both approaches require participants to respond immediately and definitively to an experience while retaining the ability to respond to the unexpected. The foundational skills of flexibility, creativity, and spontaneity used so effectively by improv theater players, allow teams to prepare, respond to, and survive change. The three cornerstones of that foundation are presence, acceptance, and trust. Presence is the ability to focus on the task at hand. Acceptance is acknowledgment of the situation as it is, rather than what might have been. Trust is the belief that the course of action taken will be successful, even if the outcome is uncertain. Practicing these qualities results in an effective team with a conscious relationship to each other. A sidebar article highlight!s group learning activities borrowed from improvisational theater.

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