Entrepreneur Podcast Network Interview with Bob Kulhan

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Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 9.06.28 AMListen to host Eric Dye & guest Bob Kulhan discuss the following:

  • What is the difference between improv comedy and business improv?
  • What is “Yes, And…” and how is it applicable to business?
  • As a fellow entrepreneur, how do you apply improv techniques to Business Improv?
  • How can improvisation help increase your Emotional Intelligence and help you achieve mindfulness?
  • What kind of corporate culture can you create using improv techniques?
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IMPROV NERD Podcast #225: Bob Kulhan

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Bob Kulhan is the author of the new book “Getting to Yes And: The Art of Business Improv.” He is an incredible improviser and teacher who was a core faculty member at The Second City Training Center in Chicago and co-founder of the uber musical group Baby Wants Candy. Jimmy talks to him about how he was influenced by improv teacher Martin DeMaat, the early years of musical improv, and how he fell into teaching improv for business.

Bob Kulhan: Is Improvisation the most important business skill?

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Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 12.30.43 PMJoined in studio today by Bob Kulhan, founder and CEO of Business Improv, and author of Getting to Yes And: The Art of Business Improv.Learn more about Bob Kulhan’s book here.

Discussion guide from today’s conversation with Bob Kulhan:
1. What is improv?
2. And how does improv integrate into our daily business practice?
3. “REACT, ADAPT, and COMMUNICATE.”
4. What is “YES AND” and how does it work?
5. What are the cognitive and social psychology behind this?
6. How does “YES AND” and improv help with creativity and innovation?
7. Improv is a skill. How do we learn and develop stronger improvisational skills?

How to increase employee engagement and productivity. w/Bob Kulhan.

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Screen Shot 2017-02-01 at 11.00.54 AMBob Kulhan, veteran improv performer, university professor, CEO, and consultant, shares insights from his book: Getting To Yes And: The Art of Business Improv. Bob shows how improv techniques such as the “Yes, and” approach, divergent and convergent thinking, and focusing on being present can translate into more productive meetings, swifter decisions, stronger collaboration, positive conflict resolution, mindfulness, and more.

Listen Better, Lead Better

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NO JOKE: TOOLS FROM IMPROV THEATER ARE A HIT IN THE OFFICE
BY BOB KULHAN (for Solve Magazine)

Screen Shot 2017-01-30 at 1.40.07 PM“The basic human desire is to be understood,” Martin de Maat of The Second City improvisational comedy theater always told his students. That’s equally true for people in business.

Unfortunately, most leaders aren’t very good listeners. We’re more comfortable giving answers. We may be driven by so much passion for the business that basic principles of communication are overridden. The unintended consequence is that people who work with us feel disrespected.

Having spent more than 17 years teaching executives how to improvise—to be present in the moment, react, adapt, and communicate—I can attest that there’s a tremendous value proposition to listening. Leaders who are good listeners foster intrinsic motivation. A culture of positive communication spreads throughout their business, and the best talent wants to work for them. Read More

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How to Get to Yes And In Business with Bob Kulhan

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Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 12.29.56 PMToday’s episode is with Bob Kulhan who joined us in episode 55 to discuss the transformative power of improvisation in business and life. He’s back today to discuss his new book: Getting to “Yes And”: The Art of Business Improv.

For more than three years, he has dedicated incredible amounts of time and energy writing on Getting to “Yes And”: The Art of Business Improv (Stanford University Press).

Getting to “Yes And” is the definitive guide to business improv. Bob teaches readers to think on their feet and approach the most typical business challenges with fresh eyes and openness. He shows how improv techniques such as the “Yes, and” approach, divergent and convergent thinking, and focusing on being present can translate into more productive meetings, swifter decisions, stronger collaboration, positive conflict resolution, mindfulness, and more.

Getting To “Yes And” was created to help everyone improve their business performance and everyday life. As a prescriptive book, it moves past general philosophy and delves into the “how” improv techniques can be easily and thoughtfully applied to various real-world settings. Read More

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Myth One: Improvisation is Comedy

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Amidst the deluge of advice for businesspeople, there lies an overlooked tool, a key to thriving in today’s fast-paced, unpredictable environment: improvisation. In Getting to “Yes And” veteran improv performer, university professor, CEO, and consultant Bob Kulhan unpacks a form of mental agility with powers far beyond the entertainment value of comedy troupes.

The following is an excerpt from Getting to “Yes And” The Art of Business Improv

MYTH ONE: IMPROVISATION IS COMEDY

Improvisation is in fact not comedy. Nor is it simply an approach to acting. Those are two specific types of improvisation, unique to the context in which the improvisation is taking place. There are many more contexts for improvisation, though. Improvisation is a key element of busy emergency rooms; it takes place on NBA basketball courts; it’s a part of the skill set for every policeman cruising the streets—all contexts in which comedy is certainly not intended to be part of the picture. The context dictates the style of improvisation required. The improvisation an emergency room doctor uses in performing a lifesaving operation is unique to that situation, and the kind of improvisation a starting point guard employs in facing an unexpected defensive strategy only makes sense on the basketball court.

A fantastic example of high-level improvisation took place in 2011 when a team of highly trained U.S. Navy SEALs undertook Operation Neptune Spear—the deadly raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. This mission had been meticulously planned; the SEALs trained for it over months and several contingency plans were developed and put into place. Still, when one of the navy’s Black Hawk helicopters crashed within the compound, a very specific kind of improvisation was required if the mission was to succeed under shifting circumstances. In this case improvisation had everything to do with adapting to changes within a strategy to achieve real, tangible outcomes.

I certainly concede that the most common understanding of improvisation is as a form of comedy. Curb Your Enthusiasm, the aforementioned Whose Line Is It Anyway? and the films by Christopher Guest all showcase amazing comedic work that is based on improv. On a personal level I’ve been incredibly fortunate to spend an enormous part of my professional life on the great Chicago stages of The Second City, the Annoyance Theatre, and iO (where I was coached by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and performed alongside such notable folks as Jack McBrayer, Ike Barinholtz, Thomas Middleditch, Jordan Klepper, Jason Sudeikis, and Seth Meyers along with many other famous and less famous, equally brilliant comedic improvisers). In that context we were performing with the focused purpose of delivering comedy. The payoff we were after was audience laughter and a great show. Laughter is not the payoff a surgeon, a jazz musician, or a SEAL team is after, though, and it’s certainly not the payoff a businessperson is looking for either. If you’re in front of the board of directors after a dip in fourth-quarter sales and you get thrown a hardball question, the challenge is not to quickly come up with a way you can use your necktie as a comedic prop to make the board laugh (lest that necktie become a noose with which you strangle your career). Instead you must react and adapt to the circumstances and communicate in an engaging and inspiring way.

The takeaway here: improvisation as it applies to the business world is a specific type that works in the business context. The heart of this book is to explicitly demonstrate how the art of improvisation can be used as a serious means of getting serious results.

Excerpted from Getting to “Yes And” The Art of Business Improv (Stanford Business Books, 2017)


book (1)Available Now

The Art of Business Improv

Amidst the deluge of advice for businesspeople, there lies an overlooked tool, a key to thriving in today’s fast-paced, unpredictable environment: improvisation. In Getting to “Yes And” veteran improv performer, university professor, CEO, and consultant Bob Kulhan unpacks a form of mental agility with powers far beyond the entertainment value of comedy troupes.

Learn More

 

Learn the art of business improv with my new book “Getting to ‘Yes And'”!

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For more than three years, I’ve dedicated incredible amounts of time and energy writing on Getting to Yes And: The Art of Business Improv (Stanford University Press). Thank you for your inspiration in this journey! GTYA was a project based in passion and love, and after countless hours of hard work, I’m so excited to announce that the book is officially available today!

Getting to Yes And is the definitive guide to business improv. I teach readers to think on their feet and approach the most typical business challenges with fresh eyes and openness. I show how improv techniques such as the “Yes, and” approach, divergent and convergent thinking, and focusing on being present can translate into more productive meetings, swifter decisions, stronger collaboration, positive conflict resolution, mindfulness, and more.

Getting To Yes And was created to help everyone improve their business performance and everyday life. As a prescriptive book, it moves past general philosophy and delves into the “how” improv techniques can be easily and thoughtfully applied to various real-world settings. I am sure you have at least one friend or family member who would benefit from reading Getting To Yes And, so please spread the word by sharing the news.

Thank you very much for your support! Enjoy the reading!


book (1)Available Now

The Art of Business Improv

Amidst the deluge of advice for businesspeople, there lies an overlooked tool, a key to thriving in today’s fast-paced, unpredictable environment: improvisation. In Getting to “Yes And” veteran improv performer, university professor, CEO, and consultant Bob Kulhan unpacks a form of mental agility with powers far beyond the entertainment value of comedy troupes.

Learn More

Improvisational Leadership

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Bob Kulhan, President, CEO & Founder, Business Improv

Screen Shot 2017-01-24 at 2.32.53 PMAt first glance, “improvisational leadership” might seem to be contradiction in terms. Leaders are thoughtful, strategic people; improvisation is a comedic art form and a team sport in which no one person is greater than the ensemble. However, when you redirect the tenets of improvisation away from comedy and toward leadership, they help your team perform at its best—by postponing judgment, communicating and connecting, leveling status, and achieving mindfulness. Improv isn’t a replacement for strategic thinking; rather, it’s a tool to buttress and support thoughtfulness and strategy. And that crucial moment when planning and strategy collide with execution is where improvisation shines.

How can you use improvisation to facilitate leadership development, help create team culture, and support the individuals in those environments? There’s no single equation for creating a great leader; if there were, there would be many more great leaders out there. But the very essence of improvisation is awareness and adaptability, both of which play a critical role in leadership. A leader must be aware enough to recognize what there is to work with in a given team, and adaptable enough to shape circumstances toward a desired conclusion. A leader must constantly make sense of the changing pieces in a moving puzzle—precisely how an improviser performs—and an improvisational leader understands how to use both EQ and IQ.1 Read More