Do you wonder how some actors can be so good at improvisation? Weʼre amazed by their ability to take a situation or word or suggestion and turn it into a compelling story or a hilarious comedy skit. Improv is a skill that is taught and the principles of this skill can teach us how to be better leaders, sales people and partners.
The principles of improv consist of saying "yes" to whatever those you are interacting with tell you. You validate another person by acknowledging what they have told you. The second item is "and". You pick up on their idea and build on it. The improv can become funny or sad, serious or silly. The results are always moving forward and always building.
Think about how this approach could help you, your organization, your results. Approach life with a "Yes. And..." attitude. It will move you forward. Say yes to what life brings you. Say yes to others' ideas AND then build on them with your own suggestions and directions.
We see this happening in many of the arts. The musical form, jazz, is often a jamming collaboration of musical artists who say, "YES. AND..." to each other as they play, resulting in audio splashes of color to create a masterpiece. Painters and poets are artists who respond to their inner voices with "YES. AND..." adding texture, tones and lyrics that speak to many on a deep emotional level.
Contrast "YES. AND..." with the negative "NO. BUT..." that is the auto response of far too many. "NO. BUT..." stops and reverses progress. It curtails innovation. It prevents growth. "NO. BUT..." may avoid a mistake or two but it also avoids lessons.
The next time you find yourself ready to answer a suggestion with "NO. BUT..." stop yourself and try making it "YES. AND...". Say "yes" to the occasional mistake knowing that failure is only possible when we stop trying, when we stop saying "YES. AND...".