Executives from The Second City—the world’s premier comedy theater and school of improvisation—reveal improvisational techniques that can help any organization develop innovators, encourage adaptable leaders, and build transformational businesses.
For more than fifty years, The Second City comedy theater in Chicago has been a training ground for some of the best comic minds in the industry—including John Belushi, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Mike Myers, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, and Tina Fey. But it also provides one-of-a-kind leadership training to cutting-edge companies, nonprofits, and public sector organizations—all aimed at increasing creativity, collaboration, and teamwork.
The rules for leadership and teamwork have changed, and the skills that got professionals ahead a generation ago don’t work anymore. Now The Second City provides a new toolkit individuals and organizations can use to thrive in a world increasingly shaped by speed, social communication, and decentralization. Based on eight principles of improvisation, Yes, And helps to develop these skills and foster them in high-potential leaders and their teams, including:
- Mastering the ability to co-create in an ensemble
- Fostering a “yes, and” approach to work
- Embracing failure to accelerate high performance
- Leading by listening and by learning to follow
- Innovating by making something out of nothing
Yes, And is a must-read for professionals and organizations, helping to develop the invaluable leadership skills needed to succeed today.
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About the Author
Kelly Leonard is the executive vice president of The Second City and the president of Second City Theatricals. He has worked at The Second City since 1988 and has overseen productions with such notable performers as Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler. Mr. Leonard cofounded Second City Theatricals, the division of the company that develops an eclectic array of live entertainment all over the world. He has fostered creative and business collaborations with Lyric Opera Chicago, Norwegian Cruise Line, Hubbard Street Dance and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few.
Tom Yorton has been CEO of Second City Works, the b2b arm of The Second City, since 2002. Before joining The Second City family, Tom worked in advertising and marketing at agencies like Ogilvy, Grey, and Hal Riney before jumping to the client side, with stints as a marketing vice president at Sears and 3Com, where he actually hired Second City Works on a couple of occasions. Second City Works now does more than four hundred engagements a year, half with Fortune 1000 companies. Tom and his team are focused on refining The Second City's unique capabilities—creating funny short-form content and using improv to develop vital skills in businesspeople—to help companies communicate, collaborate, and innovate better in a web-first, social-everything world.
Table of Contents
1 The Business of Funny 5
2 Yes, And: How to Make Something Out of Nothing 21
3 How to Build an Ensemble 51
4 The Co-Creation Story, or Audiences Want In on the Act 83
5 Change Is Hard: Comedy and Improvisation Make It Easier 111
6 Using Failure 139
7 Follow the Follower 165
8 Listening Is a Muscle 193
Conclusion: What Happened When We Yes, Anded the Writing of This Book 209
Appendix: The Second City Improv Exercises 215
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is an absolutely brilliant book that shows how improv skills can benefit us in business and life. Lots of fun to read. Wonderful applications of improv to real life.
The concept of "Yes, And..." was explained just fine 4 years before this one in Tina Fey's Bossypants. I'm not sure why we need this knock off.