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Forbes: What Seven Of The Best Business Books Of 2017 Taught Us This Year

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Forbes-logoThis year, our shelves were packed with books profiling the personal and enterprise effects of globalization in the new economy. Covering topics as wide as how to improve workplace resiliency through improv comedy to reimagining corporate hiring strategies to leverage the gig economy, seven of my favorites lent sharp new insight into the direction of the labor market and enterprise’s response to it.

Here are my seven favorite books this year and what you can learn from each:

2. “Yes, and …” can make your workplace more resilient.

Bob Kulhan, founder of Business Improv, is as much a master improviser as he is a skilled businessman and his book, Getting to “Yes And”: The Art of Business Improv, makes for a colorful and insightful read into the dynamics of improving workforce resiliency. Based on Kulhan’s decades of experience teaching the tenets improv to business leaders, the book explains how acceptance and adaptability — two of the main tenets of improv — are essential to ensuring smoothness of day-to-day functioning within an organization and its teams. Teaching momentary situational analysis, snap decision making and workplace camaraderie makes this book an excellent read for any manager looking to build a great team.
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Goodreads: The Book “Getting to Yes And” Shows How to Use Improv in Business

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goodreads-logo-2As Bob Kulhan points out in his book, busy executives are turning to the most unlikely sources to gain a competitive advantage. One of those unlikely sources is improvisational theater. While you might assume these executives are trying to get some much-needed comedic relief, Bob Kulhan points to something deeper. There is a talent present in good improv actors that he believes business leaders can tap into for powerful results. That talent is the subject and focus of Getting to “Yes And”: The Art of Business Improv
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Learning, Teaching, and Laughing review: Getting to “Yes. and…”

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Screen Shot 2017-12-04 at 1.07.04 PMWell, this one’s a bit different from the usual fare of Bible materials and such. I’m working on broadening my horizons. Bob Kulhan’s book definitely stretched my thought processes. One thing we don’t do well in established churches is improv. Whether you leave it like that or add an “e.”

This probably isn’t the first think Bob Kulhan had in mind when he wrote Getting to “Yes And”, but here’s my first response: this book demonstrates exactly what we have lost in the general education of America as we set aside the arts for budgetary concerns. Seriously, you are working through an entire book written by actor/comedian about how to apply the same tools from drama/comedy improv to your business and see how things change and improve. If we would have been teaching and encouraging arts all along, the need would be very different
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Raise the Bar of Your Creativity with These 3 Creative Leadership Books of 2017

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Screen Shot 2017-10-11 at 3.22.34 PMKulhan’s ‘Yes And’ instantly strikes the right notes with the readers by providing a clear insight of the corporate work culture and wonderfully explicating why and how ‘improv’ procures the best result. He focuses on building a culture of trust, taking others into consideration and watching one’s own as well as the team’s actions. He puts forth an apparently simple yet effective solution to accomplish this goal. He says that by adopting the ‘yes, and’ approach one can overcome the barriers of the mind, personal inhibitions and train one’s mind to be creative and ready to adapt to changes. The take-away for readers is learning the art of improvisation by saying no to ‘Yes but’ and yes to ‘Yes and’. Read More

The Art of Business Improv – Bob Kulhan

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Yes Business Improv is a Thing. Business Improv Founder & CEO Bob Kulhan Wrote a Book About it. Getting to “Yes,

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 1.49.21 PMBob Kulhan is an Adjunct Professor of Business Administration for The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University as well as an Adjunct Professor of Business for Columbia Business School, Columbia University. He also is the Founder and CEO of a company called Business Improv.

Bob has a new book called Getting to “Yes, And” The Art of Business Improv, published by Stanford Business Books. Which led him to TotalPicture Radio, and a Career Strategies Podcast with your host Peter Clayton.

I’ve been looking forward to talking with Bob for weeks. I’m a huge fan of improv, and Bob was trained at the famed Second City in Chicago, and to name-drop just a couple of people, he worked with Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. I love standup too, and fortunately Netflix continues to serve up a continuous stream of standup comedy specials. Added recently, I highly recommend 3 Mics with Neal Brennan.AND.”

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I Took an Improv Training Course — and It Changed How I Brainstorm

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by STEPHEN J. BRONNER for Entrepreneur Magazine

Stop saying ‘Yes, but.’ Start getting to ‘Yes, and.’

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 1.42.18 PMI walked slowly across the room, stretched out my arms and said “hot frying pan” to a man I didn’t know. That man acted as if I’d passed him an imaginary skillet, pretended to feel its heat and passed the cookware to someone else.

What the hell have I gotten myself into? I thought.

When Bob Kulhan invited me to participate in a workshop by Business Improv, a training company he founded, I didn’t know what to think. Kulhan’s sessions aim to teach lay people improv acting techniques so they can apply them to all of life’s interactions. My main exposure to improvisational comedy was old snippets of Whose Line Is It Anyway? But hey, who’s not up for professional development, right? If I’m being honest, I also wondered whether the session would end as two hours of bad acting and awkward chuckles. Read More

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