Letting People Improvise

If you want to solve complex problems really fast, there is something to be said about letting go of control and letting people improvise.

If your company culture is all about scripting everything and improvisation is new to you, it may look like chaos in the beginning.

But in reality, it is not. Rather, improvisation is about freedom and precision because it forces you to focus on sensing more carefully and be extremely present.

No multi-tasking; better listening. Instead of a 20-page document, just a few simple bullet points on an index card are enough, leaving way more room for spontaneity. Instead of 5 hours spent on a PowerPoint slide, 5 minutes with a marker on the back of a napkin work even better.

Improvisation is a chance to become more agile by self-organizing. It improves the speed of innovation because you have to come up with the solutions in real-time. That’s a question of survival for some companies. Improvisational artists innovate all the time. They jump from one S-curve to the other, always. That’s just what they do.

The good news is that we are all improvisers by nature. We tend to forget that.

Will it work? It will if you give people your trust and support, starting with yourself. It can work with your team, your students, your kids, etc., if you can make failure an option and fun as an objective.

When it’s possible, give people a chance to step up and learn. You will see more leaders all of a sudden, and you might even be more recognized as one.

You never know what tomorrow holds. In the Spring of 2020, we all had to improvise a lot more than usual. Who knows, we might all have to do it again.


FAQ: Should Our Narrative Be Different For Each Audience?