Why not give it a try?

Yesterday I spent the day in Harlem at the All Stars Talent Show Workshop.  I was part of a grouping of adult and youth leaders of the All Stars who worked with 300 young people, most of whom were new to the program and who will participate in the upcoming Harlem All Stars Talent Shows. See previous post blog post for more details about the program http://marianrich.posterous.com/innovation-in-action

We worked with a diverse group of inner city youth of all ages from some of the poorest neighborhoods in New York — singers, rappers and dancers; boys and girls from elementary school and young men and women from high school.  I was one of the directors helping the young people create theatre skits about the All Stars’ youth programs (see photo below of me and three youth leaders and fellow skit directors).

After arriving with their performance groups, the young people were asked to join groups of kids they didn’t know to create the skits.  Although the initial response of some of the young people was to ask, “Why do I have to do this?” and “Why can’t I stay with my group?”, the activity of creating with people they never worked with before turned out to be a creative and developmental experience for all involved.  See video clip below of one of the very fun and creative skits the youth created.

I was thinking about this activity and it’s application to business.  Companies, large and small, can use this approach to bring diverse groups of executives and non-executives together and have them create new experiences (as well as new products and services), a great way to promote innovation in the workplace. The use of theatre and improvisation can help businesses go beyond the possible and the familiar so that everyone involved can develop.

Why not give it a try?

Live from New York … It’s a phone call!

This morning I was reading the New York Times article “How Much Technology Is Too Much?” http://nyti.ms/huiNY6 on my iPhone. Now I’m blogging with an app, I’ll log on to my digital desktop, check my emails and then … I’ll make old fashioned phone calls.

In the executive search business the phone call, the conversation, is the key ingredient for success. If you’ve been reading this blog you may know that I’m fairly obsessed with relationships. Search is a relational business and I would say all business is relational. Humans are a social, relational species.

I suspect that my love of theatre and improvisation has everything to do with the fact that it is live theatre. Being in the moment with people is intimate.

Creating a live conversation can be a joyous experience of discovery about the other person (and ourselves). Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of technology but maybe next time instead of an email make a phone call instead,