How the Three Pillars of Improv can help your employees avoid the “Six signs that it’s time to quit your job”
About a 7 minute read
A few weeks ago, Stephanie Vozza posted an article at Fast Company titled “Here are six signs that it’s time to quit your job”. Check out her article, it’s a good read. She wrote about how tough it can be to go to work day in and day out if you’re experiencing these symptoms:
- You don’t want to get out of bed
- Relationships at work are toxic
- You’re losing interest
- You aren’t getting sufficient recognition
- The company has high turnover
- Your role is becoming less important
I’m going to refer to these as the Six Signs. We’ve all been there, and I if I felt all those things, I’d certainly see the appeal of jumping ship and looking for a greener pasture.
As someone who works to improve team communications and create positive corporate cultures when I saw these Six Signs my mind went right to, “What can management do to avoid this type of environment?” True, it’s not all management’s fault. Some people are just not the right fit for a particular corporate environment. And it’s also true that some managers and even entire companies just don’t care about creating a great culture in their employees. But for those of us who want to attract and keep top talent, it’s important to have the tools that will help us avoid the Six Signs.
I want my clients to be able to create a culture filled with passion, commitment, and joie de vivre in their company. One where they’re focused, on point, having fun, and bringing in cool clients and even cooler bonuses. Of course that type of environment takes real work to create. The solution I’ve found is to focus on making three simple activities a part of everyday life:
- Communicate with empathy
- Respect everyone
- Celebrate Success
THE THREE PILLARS OF IMPROV
One of the coolest things about working with the Three Pillars of Improv is that when they are put into practice empathetic communications, radical respect, and celebrations start to occur naturally.
Pillar number one: Always say, “Yes! And…”
Imagine constantly hearing “No” when you bring new ideas to your boss. It can zap morale faster than summer disappears in grade school. People start to feel like their creativity and contributions don’t matter and they aren’t being recognized for the ideas they have. If that feeling continues they’ll start to lose interest in sharing their ideas and the passion for their job is not far behind. Saying “No”, even when you are using different words to do it, will create a culture of negativity and bring your employees closer to the Six Signs it’s time to quit.
The antidote to creating a culture of “No” is to say “Yes! And…” to everything. The important thing about saying “Yes!” is that you are acknowledging what you are being told, not that you necessarily agree that the idea they are bringing to you. The driving force behind saying “Yes!” is that it will help everyone get on the same page and agree on what the common ground is. The next step of saying “And…” is just as important. The “And…” is where everyone involved talks about the idea, suggests ways to improve the idea, and finds a solution that will have everyone better off than when the conversation started. In improv, we call this exploring and heightening.
I’m always impressed at how powerful these two simple words are when I’m working with clients. They find they start saying “Yes! And…” they are more positive, open, and creative in their solutions than they were in the past. These clients get bonus points awarded because they have flipped the culture. Rather than an employee getting told “No” and feeling unrecognized or unimportant, they feel they are contributing to the solution.
Pillar number two: Suspend Judgements
We’ve all been there. Someone has come to us with an idea that turns the status quo completely upside down. Our first thought is, “That’s so crazy, there’s no way that could possibly work!” Now imagine how you’d feel if your thoughts and ideas were constantly being judged as wrong or not good enough. You may start to feel you are being ridiculed as too far out there or the one with bad ideas. I know when I’ve been in situations like this I’ve wanted to actively avoid working with those who were constantly putting me down. I was certainly not looking forward to getting out of bed and spending the next eight hours working with those people. And forget about working to find creative solutions to their problems.
As management, saying “Yes! And…” is a good first step towards a solution. But to make it more effective we need to Suspend Judgements. This is the second pillar of improv. It tells us to take our judgments of “He’s got his head in the clouds” and “That idea is never gonna work” and put them in the parking lot.
When we combine Suspend Judgements by saying “Yes! And…” we are actively creating a workplace where new ideas are embraced and the people who bring them to light are honored. As management, creating an environment where employees feel this way will help to build a culture that will keep those talented people inspired to make our products and services stronger when they come to work every day.
Pillar number three: Make my partner look good
Finally, imagine a time when you’ve worked crazy hours all week to build a presentation for your manager. You’ve nailed it. The slides are ready to go and you’ve prepped your boss on every possible front. You’re sitting in the back of the room as watch as they present your work. Your heart sinks lower and lower as your boss takes credit for everything you’ve done with no mention of you at all. No one wants to feel this way.
It could be that your boss is selfish and wants to keep all the glory for themselves. It could be that they are scared that if you give you the credit you’ll end up taking their job. Or it could be any number of other reasons. No matter the reason, creating an environment where people are feeling used and discarded is a sure path towards the Six Signs.
The best groups I’ve worked with are the ones where management and employees who consider themselves to be more than just a team. They consider themselves to be partners. I’m not saying they are equal partners, management still needs a viable chain of command. But when everyone feels they are involved in a project together, they reach the finish line much more effectively. They are working towards the same goal and they know they are getting their fair share of the work, rewards, and accolades.
“Making my partner look good” is a two-way street. We’ve all been on the worker bee side of the street where we make the honey and someone else gets to eat it. From the management side of the street, it’s just as important to make sure we’re working just as hard to make them look good. When I present someone else’s work to a customer I always give them credit by name and thank them for their contribution. It’s a small thing for me to do. When they know they will be treated as a partner not just in the work but in the recognition too, they feel that much more invested in the outcome. Making your partners look good is a step in the direction of not only attracting the best and brightest people but getting them to suggest their bright friends come work for you as well.
Pulling it all together
The Three Pillars can help build a corporate culture that actively keeps the Six Signs at bay. Suspending Judgements and always saying “Yes! And…” will have your teams communicating with empathy and finding the antidote to negativity and creating the three simple activities I mentioned at the top of this post:
- Communicate with empathy
- Respect everyone
- Celebrate Success
How can improv training help make your workplace even better?
At ImprovThis our sole mission is to create fun, hands-on workshop style training sessions to build closer, more collaborative teams. Our focus is on helping you build a positive, creative, and passionate corporate culture.
We create and facilitate activities which bring the Three Pillars of Improv to life in a way that allows your team to see how to use the tools in their everyday activities. We also provide you with the tools to ensure the learning becomes part of the culture so the benefit of the training will last long after the workshop is over.
To learn more about how ImprovThis can help you or if you’d like to schedule a time to talk to us, click the button below to go to our website: www.improvthis.com