I am intrigued about the new leadership lessons Second City continues to work up. Tim Yorton, CEO of Second City Works, brings us important lessons from the world of improv performance on helping your team fail well.
While it’s tempting for teams to want to always be good and always look right, great improv thrives on looking bad and failing often in order to hatch the priceless golden eggs of comedy.
Great improv requires that each person on stage takes a risk in what they say and do. It requires trust that whoever plays opposite you will say “yes” to whatever you offer. Your partner will build on whatever you put out there.
As you’ll notice in the video, Yorton espouses a few principles that characterize great teams. To build on last week’s post, when you lead your firm, consider how to promote this kind of failure:
Fail as a Team
Proactively have one another’s back. Consider how you individually deal with failure. Be curious and ask, “What can we learn from what just happened?” Don’t hang out anyone to dry; leave no one behind; throw no one under the bus.
Fail Incrementally and Fast
Experiment often and let learning build incrementally. Discover as quickly as possible what works well.
Be imperfect and be proud! Let your teamwork be a continual work in progress. Think of sharing the messy backside of the tapestry you’re weaving.
We live in an age when everyone knows we are imperfect and we fail. Consider how often the most successful entrepreneurs have product failures, bankruptcies and mis-hires.
Which of the above failings do you need to develop within your team?