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

The Book “Getting to Yes And” Shows How to Use Improv in Business

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by Charles Franklin for Small Business Trends

Screen Shot 2017-02-28 at 11.21.09 AMWhy are business executives paying thousands for improv experts like Bob Kulhan? Besides possibly getting a much-needed laugh and chance to connect, these leaders know improvisation develops mental agility that powers athletes, soldiers, and others to stay focused amid the chaos. Getting to “Yes And”: The Art of Business Improv”, written by an improv master who successfully brought improv to the business school at Duke University, helps leaders use that superpower to excel in leadership.

As 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. Read More

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How to use improv to jumpstart your business

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Yahoo-Finance-new-logoYahoo Finance Video

By Bob Kulhan, the Founder, President, and CEO of Business Improv

There are plenty of companies that exemplify what happens when you fail to embrace improv —Blockbuster, Radio Shack and Kodak are examples of companies that did not embrace change, did not take advantage of unexpected opportunities and did not adapt to an evolving consumer landscape.

So how do you use improv effectively in business?

The skills that we rely on during improv — including centered thinking and split-second decision-making — also apply to many day-to-day challenges of the business world: running productive meetings, sparking exceptional brainstorming sessions, providing tough feedback, managing conflict, networking, creating entrepreneurial corporate cultures. In business, improvisation thrives at the pivotal intersection where planning and strategy meet execution.

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Can Playing This Card Game Save Your Hopeless Meetings?

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Want to have better brainstorms and faster meetings? Reshuffle everyone’s status and rank.
by BOB KULHAN for Fast Company

Screen Shot 2017-02-21 at 9.45.30 AMStatus is powerful. Once a team gets working, any initial willingness to communicate can go right out the window if nobody feels comfortable disagreeing with the VP at the end of the table, or the new junior salesperson who might have something to say.

But our positions within a company are actually a combination of rank and status. Your job title and the responsibilities that go with it comprise your rank. But your status is given to you by other people, or taken away by other people (either to your face or behind your back). Most of the time, people with a high rank are granted a great deal of status by coworkers—that’s the nature of a corporate ladder. Read More


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Adapted from “Getting to “Yes, And”: The Art of Business Improv” by Bob Kulhan, (Stanford University Press, (c) 2017 Robert Kulhan).

logo_100_BOne of the keys to success in any business lies in the ability to generate a tremendous amount of ideas, because when it comes down to it, almost every organization is, at heart, in the idea business. This is not a revolutionary concept. However, what often is overlooked—or simply misunderstood—is that the generation of great ideas is a numbers game. Businesses ostensibly are always looking for killer ideas that will boost profits and cut costs; ideas that streamline processes and maximize investments; and ideas that will have significant impact in the marketplace. To get to those killers, though, a business may have to cough up a mess of ideas that are ridiculous, budget busting, unusable, or simply awful.

A business that runs on the assumption that it will come up with a great idea exactly when it needs one is severely limiting, if not deluding, itself. That business is most likely achieving “greatness” by simply lowering the standard of what counts as great. The fact is, to get to unimpeachably great ideas—sharp, innovative, outright brilliant ones—you have to come up with an ugly pile of horrible ones, too (Osborn, Alex, “Applied Imagination: Principles and Procedures of Creative Problem Solving,” 3rd ed., Creative Education Foundation Press, 1963). By way of analogy, think about the old process of gold panning. As you might remember from elementary school studies of the California Gold Rush, panning is the art of extracting gold from a river by scooping up sediment with a large pan. Panning is a sloppy, difficult process, and it can get results.

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10 Keys To A Business Culture That Can Adapt Quickly

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by Marty Zwilling, Veteran Start-up Mentor; Executive (for Huffington Post)

Screen Shot 2017-02-03 at 10.27.46 AMAs an entrepreneur, you have to improvise and adapt quickly to survive and thrive in the face of the unpredictable challenges of the market. But this improvisation a not a comedy, although there are some distinct correlations, in relation to reacting, adapting, and communicating. In business and in comedy, you win most often with “Yes, and …” instead of “Yes, but ….”

I definitely learned a few things about how to improvise effectively in business from a new book, “Getting to ‘Yes And’: The Art of Business Improv,” by Bob Kulhan, who is a master of the art in both comedy and business. Kulhan is a professor at the Duke University School of Business, but was trained in improvisation by some comedy greats, including Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

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