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Editor’s Choice My Business Book Club: Getting to “Yes And”

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Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 11.37.23 AMHaving run a short training session based on improv with my own team many years ago (where we focused on the concept of ‘yes and’) I was immediately attracted by the title. It’s impossible not to smile when you read this book. Whether it is the ‘Eights’ exercise or celebrating ridiculous ideas, “Yes And” will remind you how to have fun at work – and as a result I’m convinced your business will be more effective. Read More

Speed Review: Getting to “Yes And”

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Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 11.33.13 AMIn the early morning of May 2, 2011, a team of Navy SEALS invaded a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan and killed Osama Bin Laden. As author Bob Kulhan writes in his book, Getting to “Yes And”: The Art of Business Improv, “the mission had been meticulously planned: the SEALS trained for it over months and several contingency plans were developed and put into place.” Unfortunately, during the raid, one of the team’s helicopters crashed. In addition, “the SEALS discovered that the intelligence they’d based their plans on was not entirely accurate,” he writes. “There were a number of unknown variables (how many people they would encounter, the types of people, the weapons, the doors and hallways, etc.). So they had to improvise.” Read More

Improvisational Leadership: Use Improv to Avoid Leadership Pitfalls

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By Bob Kulhan for Great Leadership

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 11.21.18 AMMost of us aspire to be great leaders—passionate, inspiring, thoughtful and productive. But we all know people in the business world who do a terrible job in leadership positions: awful bosses, disengaged department heads, ineffective team managers, and otherwise bad bigwigs in nice offices who make the work environment an unpleasant one.

So if we all have the potential to be great leaders, where do some go wrong? Perhaps some leaders have developed bad habits; some lack an understanding of what it takes to be a good leader; and some feel they’re leading well simply because they’re focused on their intention to lead, not the results of their leadership. I specialize in bringing improvisational skills to the workplace, and one of the key elements of improvisational thinking is the ‘self-audit’—the ability to be aware in real time of how you’re doing your job and how your actions and leadership style are impacting those around you. Read More

The Best Way to Talk to Millennials, From a Millennial Communications Expert

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The now-largest generation is redefining the requirements for happiness on the job.
By Coeli Carr for Inc. Magazine

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 12.23.20 PMAs the owner of a shipping company in Puyallup, Washington, Pavel Vosk didn’t realize how little he understood his demographic until he had to hire them. Some of the applicants his age–he started the company when he was 20–who sought administrative and driver positions arrived with an unappealing vibe.

“Their attitude was one of boredom, arrogance, that they were above the job,” says Vosk. He learned to respond by focusing on something Millennials value: teamwork. To prod those who often showed up late and didn’t respect authority, Vosk explained that their tardiness genuinely inconvenienced the rest of the team.

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GETTING TO “YES AND” on AudioFile

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Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 11.17.21 AMDrawing on his early career as an improv comic and his current experience as business trainer, CEO, and college teacher, Bob Kulhan offers a far-reaching lesson on how we can use mental agility and respectful communication to improve organizational outcomes and culture. At first, Kulhan’s strong voice and high energy seem too dramatic, and some of the writing too bloated and cute. But one is quickly engaged by this master class on how to be phenomenally effective in communicating to and influencing people in work groups. Drawing on research in social and cognitive psychology and communication science, just one of his many valuable messages is that people become more authentically engaged when prevailing views are respected (“YES”) prior to adding new ideas (“AND”) to any discussions. T.W. © AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine Read More

Think Slow to Move Fast: The Advantages of Mindfulness

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“When you sit down and let the mind settle, the things you need to think about naturally arise.”
By Heleo Editors Mar 28, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 7.54.27 PMRasmus Hougaard is the founder and managing director of the Potential Project, author of One Second Ahead: Enhance Your Performance at Work with Mindfulness, and an internationally recognized expert at training the mind to be focused. He recently joined Bob Kulhan, founder of the experiential learning consultancy Business Improv, former core faculty member in Chicago’s famed Second City, and author of Getting to “Yes And”: The Art of Business Improv, for a Heleo Conversation on the power of being present.

This conversation has been edited and condensed.  

Rasmus: What is the link between mindfulness and improv?

Bob: The root of improvisation is being focused and present in the moment. To react to somebody, I have to be aware of what’s being said. I can’t be drifting off into space thinking about what I need to do in the future or what I should have been doing in the past. I have to be right here linked with you. Read More

Collaboration—and Improv—Help Fuqua Team Win Energy Case Contest

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Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 3.04.46 PMCollaboration, as many MBA students quickly learn, is key in a business environment. For four Duke University Fuqua School of Business students, that collaborative effort fostered an important victory on the road to a potentially fruitful career.

Paige Swofford, Liz Arnason and Mike DeNoia, Masters of Environmental Management (MEM) and MBA dual majors, alongside Daytime MBA student Yochai Ben Haim—all first-years at Fuqua—nabbed first place at last month’s Challenges in Energy Case Competition held at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. Teamwork was essential to their victory, but their collaborative bond had formed long before the group entered the competition. Read More

The Art Of Improvisation And Business Communication

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Bob Kulhan And The Evolution Of Business Improv

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 1.09.12 PMBob Kulhan, author, actor, and CEO of Business Improv, as well as adjunct professor at Duke and Columbia business schools, joins Steve to talk about what business people can learn from practicing techniques borrowed from the world of improvisation. Bob has worked with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and has taught for many years at Second City, Chicago’s legendary comedy club and talent incubator. While he’s gone on to help countless businesses improve their communication cultures via corporate training programs staged by Business Improv, his insights and practices could arguably be used by just about anyone, whether to become more productive in business or for relationships overall.

Getting to yes and is #17 on the 800-CEO-READ bestseller list for February!

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Screen Shot 2017-03-04 at 12.11.18 PMEach month we compile a list of our top selling books. These books are featured on our site, within our Keen Thinker Newsletter, and syndicated through various publications. We hope the popularity of these titles offers guidance for those seeking an interesting and helpful new book. We report our bestsellers to The New York Times and Nielsen BookScan. Congratulations to these bestselling authors for February 2017! Read More

Getting to “Yes And”: The Art of Business Improv

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Reviewed By: Randy-Lynne Wach for Manhattan Book Review

Screen Shot 2017-03-04 at 12.09.02 PMI’m the first to admit I don’t do well at thinking and responding quickly, but I greatly admire people who can—especially when they can be witty at the same time. And, sure, I love to watch Whose Line is It, Anyway?, so maybe I came into this book with the sort of misconceptions that the author wanted to dispel about the idea of improv in business. And I may still be a little bit disappointed that the book was not just full of improv games to play in some sort of team-building activity. However, after dispelling my preconceptions, the author does deliver what was promised: a solid system for using principles of improv to achieve your best performance in business. Read More