On 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.