Your Team of Improvisors

On Steve's Mind: a Newsletter

Brand HarmonyOn any given day, the people in your company encounter the unexpected. Surprises happen every hour. Even every minute.

The typical human day is atypical. It is continually unpredictable. People are constantly navigating ever-evolving situations as the world throws curve balls, knuckleballs and sliders at us relentlessly, one after the other, from morning until night.

The good news: We are amazing at dealing with these surprises. We’ve evolved to be expert improvisors.

In this ever-changing world, it simply isn’t possible to give your employees a procedure manual that describes exactly how to deal with every possible situation they could face.

Employees need to be equipped to deal with any of the infinite possibilities that could confront them at any given moment.

Throw out the procedural manual. Bring in group improvisation.

Group improvisation describes– exactly– how the employees in your company need to interact with each other to create compelling experiences for your customers. They need to improvise together, as an ensemble, continually adapting to their ever-changing environment.

When a customer tosses a surprise in their way, they instantly assess the situation, coordinate their actions and invent a solution– in real time. When market conditions change, they evaluate the new state of affairs and adjust to make the most of the new situation. If someone on the team is out sick, on vacation or temporarily unavailable, the other team members improvise a new way to get things done.

How does a company create a successful team of improvisors?

  • First, team members have to have their “minds wide open” to notice all aspects of each new situation.
  • Second, team members needs to instantly “get into formation” to best collaborate as they deal with the new situation.
  • Third, team members need to create a shared, integrated approach to dealing with the new situation.

Consider a basketball team in the middle of a heated contest with a tough opponent. Each team member assesses the unfolding situation in real time, and as they make their assessments, the team members take the places on the court that are most appropriate for facing this situation. Next, they execute their play, spontaneously creating the right course of action, effortlessly and without the need to shout commands to one another.

Can your team improvise to address new situations this effectively? Imagine if they could.

How much better would you be able to take care of customers? How much better would you be able to deal with new market conditions?  How well would you be able to beat the competition?

When you create an effective group of improvisors, your company will be ready for any possibility it confronts. And that’s really good for business.

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Posted in Conversation, Ditch the Pitch, Improvisation, Newsletters

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We have seen huge benefits from Steve's input. Steve is unlike any other consultant I've ever worked with. He takes a genuine, deep-seated interest in our business. He is intuitive and able to identify problem issues quickly. We wouldn't be as far along in acheiving of our long-term growth strategy if we hadn't actively and aggressively pursued Steve's Brand Harmony.

Michael MacDonald

Executive VP Sales and Marketing, American Licorice Co.
Ditch the Pitch is a great read-- interesting, fun, and easy to follow. And I’ve already seen the concepts work. Just yesterday, I called a client and had a conversation that was 95% about the client, as the book suggests. At the end of the call, he sent a new matter my way. I ditched the pitch and it resulted in new business.

Attorney

Chicago, IL
Ward Alles
Steve Yastrow knows his stuff. That's why our management team has read all of his books. And that's why we've had him as a keynote speaker at both client and employee events. From creating brand alignment, to selling more effectively, to providing top-notch customer service, Steve offers words of wisdom based on real-life experiences. He always engages his audiences with questions, interactive exercises and great storytelling that keep you coming back for more. Read Steve's books. Then book Steve. You'll be glad you did.

Ward Alles

CEO, Core Creative
Mike Depatie
Steve Yastrow is at the forefront of the next evolution in marketing. We have implemented many of his innovative ideas... and have seen very positive results.

Mike Depatie

CEO, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants
Kathleen Phillips
Not only is Steve's content sound, but the energy he displays in delivering it will knock your socks off.

Kathleen Phillips

Ernst & Young, Chicago, IL
Jennifer Whelan
“Steve’s workshops helped bring out what is best at Acuative. His insights were fresh and long-lasting—we continue to use his tools and approach years later.”

Jennifer Whelan

Vice President of Marketing, Acuative
jim-winter
Steve put together a program that produced spectacular results, and the quality of our communication and customer satisfaction is vastly improved. I’ve been in business for 40 years, and Steve’s the first consultant that I’ve gotten my money’s worth from. We’re going to continue to work with Steve and the bright, energetic people that are on his team.

Jim Winter

COO, Dimension Design
Doug Ducey
In one morning, Steve re-energized the way we look at marketing. The only question we had at the end of the session was, ‘When can we get him back?'

Doug Ducey

CEO & Chairman, Cold Stone Creamery, Governor of Arizona
Marc Allen
We are absolutely better off after engaging Yastrow and Company. They helped us look at our business from our clients’ perspective, resulting in a cultural shift throughout our organization. These changes have made a big impact - we’ve gained new clients and strengthened relationships with existing clients. The investment was well worth it.

Marc Allen

Vice President of Sales, AMD Industries
Alex von Bidder
In these high pressure times of bite-size communications we all hunger to be listened to and cared for individually. Our customers know great hospitality, the kind that is not about selling but treating their needs as our highest priority. Steve Yastrow’s teachings are applicable to any business that values long-standing success based on personal relationships.

Alex von Bidder

Managing Partner, The Four Seasons Restaurant, New York
Chris Tucker
Steve is a creative and collaborative speaker who communicates his ideas clearly and concisely. He immediately understood our business needs and provided a better perspective on how our customers see us as a company. I have referred Steve to our customers in the past and I will continue to do so. He’s intuitive and has a unique way of looking at business. Steve has the experience to turn a project into something extremely valuable for any organization. I strongly recommend working with Yastrow and Company.

Chris Tucker

Director of Business Development, MBX Systems
Alex von Bidder
Steve Yastrow's teachings are applicable to any business that values long-standing success based on personal relationships.

Alex von Bidder

Managing Partner, The Four Seasons Restaurant, New York
David Sank
I highly recommend Yastrow and Company to any business that is intent on enhancing their customer experience. Prior to working with Steve, we were communicating various messages to customers. Steve and his team helped us achieve a cohesive brand message that we as a company live daily. Steve is an incredible listener and learned the nuances of our business rapidly. I can’t imagine anyone Yastrow and Company couldn’t help.

David Sank

President and CEO, Calico Cottage
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Rancho La Puerta has enjoyed continued success because of the work we did with Yastrow and Company. Together, we implemented business strategies that have contributed to our success. Steve and his team truly believe in our brand, and our experience with them was empowering, fun and a great learning opportunity. I highly recommend Yastrow and Company to any business that needs help building the bottom line

Roma Maxwell

Roma Maxwell, Director of Sales and Marketing, Rancho La Puerta
jim-evans
Yastrow and Company introduced Brand Harmony and their Be the Brand concept to our team at Jenny Craig.  I believe these new ideas contributed in helping us triple the company's revenue during my years as CEO.

Jim Evans

former President and CEO, Jenny Craig
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Rancho La Puerta has enjoyed continued success because of the work we did with Yastrow and Company. Together, we implemented business strategies that have contributed to our success. Steve and his team truly believe in our brand. I highly recommend Yastrow and Company to any business that needs help building the bottom line.

Roma Maxwell

Director of Sales and Marketing, Rancho La Puerta
Tom Peters
When Steve Yastrow writes, I pay close attention.

Tom Peters

Founder, Tom Peters Company
Jennifer Whelan
Our work with Yastrow and Company yielded the best long-term value of any consulting engagement we’ve ever had. As we grow and expand internationally, Acuative continues to depend on the branding approach and marketing tools Steve and his team developed. Yastrow and Company genuinely partnered with us, were exceptionally responsive and remain committed to our success.

Jennifer Whelan

Vice President of Marketing, Acuative
Rhoda Olsen
Steve Yastrow has clearly described the emotional reality of customer relationships and their impact on profitable business growth.

Rhoda Olsen

President, Great Clips for Hair
Chris Miller
I rarely book speakers more than once. But I’ve used Steve four times! Steve has our association’s interest at heart and works tirelessly to deliver customized programs. He always ranks highly with our affiliates because he is outcome-focused, fast-paced and highly engaging. Anyone looking for insight and understanding into marketing, branding and sales should book Steve!

Chris Miller

Executive Director, Professional Systems Network International
Craig Dwight
Steve’s approach to integrating all customer contacts into a comprehensive marketing message is a must in today’s information age. We have partnered with Steve to develop our integrated and comprehensive marketing message, and as a result of his excellent work, his new book is required reading for all of our employees.

Craig Dwight

Chairman & CEO, Horizon Bancorp
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I give Steve two thumbs up—five thumbs up, if I had that many!

Roma Maxwell

Roma Maxwell, Director of Sales and Marketing, Rancho La Puerta