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Getting to "yes And": The Art of Business Improv

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Amidst the deluge of advice for businesspeople, there lies an overlooked tool, a key to thriving in today's fast-paced, unpredictable environment: improvisation. In Getting to "Yes And" veteran improv performer, university professor, CEO, and consultant Bob Kulhan unpacks a form of mental agility with powers far beyond the entertainment value of comedy troupes. Drawing on p Amidst the deluge of advice for businesspeople, there lies an overlooked tool, a key to thriving in today's fast-paced, unpredictable environment: improvisation. In Getting to "Yes And" veteran improv performer, university professor, CEO, and consultant Bob Kulhan unpacks a form of mental agility with powers far beyond the entertainment value of comedy troupes. Drawing on principles from cognitive and social psychology, behavioral economics, and communication, Kulhan teaches readers to think on their feet and approach the most typical business challenges with fresh eyes and openness. He shows how improv techniques such as the "Yes, and" approach, divergent and convergent thinking, and focusing on being present can translate into more productive meetings, swifter decisions, stronger collaboration, positive conflict resolution, mindfulness, and more. Moving from the individual to the organizational level, Kulhan compiles time-tested teaching methods and training exercises into an instrumental guide that readers can readily implement as a party of one or a company of thousands.


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Amidst the deluge of advice for businesspeople, there lies an overlooked tool, a key to thriving in today's fast-paced, unpredictable environment: improvisation. In Getting to "Yes And" veteran improv performer, university professor, CEO, and consultant Bob Kulhan unpacks a form of mental agility with powers far beyond the entertainment value of comedy troupes. Drawing on p Amidst the deluge of advice for businesspeople, there lies an overlooked tool, a key to thriving in today's fast-paced, unpredictable environment: improvisation. In Getting to "Yes And" veteran improv performer, university professor, CEO, and consultant Bob Kulhan unpacks a form of mental agility with powers far beyond the entertainment value of comedy troupes. Drawing on principles from cognitive and social psychology, behavioral economics, and communication, Kulhan teaches readers to think on their feet and approach the most typical business challenges with fresh eyes and openness. He shows how improv techniques such as the "Yes, and" approach, divergent and convergent thinking, and focusing on being present can translate into more productive meetings, swifter decisions, stronger collaboration, positive conflict resolution, mindfulness, and more. Moving from the individual to the organizational level, Kulhan compiles time-tested teaching methods and training exercises into an instrumental guide that readers can readily implement as a party of one or a company of thousands.

30 review for Getting to "yes And": The Art of Business Improv

  1. 4 out of 5

    JP

    The concepts are useful and clearly based on the experience of someone who has helped many leaders apply improv to business. However, the telling didn't work for me. It felt like an improv class transcribed in to written word, which doesn't work. Moreover, for me at least, many of the concepts are already well established and not unique to improv. The concepts are useful and clearly based on the experience of someone who has helped many leaders apply improv to business. However, the telling didn't work for me. It felt like an improv class transcribed in to written word, which doesn't work. Moreover, for me at least, many of the concepts are already well established and not unique to improv.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Swain

    This was a good read. At first it appeared more of an academic type of book, but later it became apparent that it was a self help book. With some great examples, the author navigates you through some difficult task. Really good book for leadership development and team building.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Doug Hibbard

    This probably isn’t the first think Bob Kulhan had in mind when he wrote Getting to “Yes And”, but here’s my first response: this book demonstrates exactly what we have lost in the general education of America as we set aside the arts for budgetary concerns. Seriously, you are working through an entire book written by actor/comedian about how to apply the same tools from drama/comedy improv to your business and see how things change and improve. If we would have been teaching and encouraging art This probably isn’t the first think Bob Kulhan had in mind when he wrote Getting to “Yes And”, but here’s my first response: this book demonstrates exactly what we have lost in the general education of America as we set aside the arts for budgetary concerns. Seriously, you are working through an entire book written by actor/comedian about how to apply the same tools from drama/comedy improv to your business and see how things change and improve. If we would have been teaching and encouraging arts all along, the need would be very different. However, somehow we lost sight of the idea that preparing people for life was about more than just comma splices and times tables. We misplaced the idea of stretching our minds. This is where Getting to “Yes And” comes into play. Bob Kulhan has primarily been an improv comedy actor, but in recent years has worked to apply those skills in helping train business people to think outside the written plan. This book is an attempt to distill what many seminars and training sessions have taught. First, of course, a comment or two about the book itself. The writing style is clear and organized. Since one tends to think of improv as jumping around a bit, it was good to see that Kulhan followed logical lines of thought in presenting his views. The nine primary chapters build well on each other. It is unfortunate that the publisher (Stanford Business Books) put the notes as endnotes instead of footnotes—there weren’t many and it would be better to have them accessible. Overall, though, the writing style is easy enough to read without making one feel dumb while reading it. Somehow, too many books that aim for “accessible” use it as cover for “dumb.” Now, there are some classic business clichés present in the writing. For example, the old saw of “How do eat an elephant?” makes an appearance, as do a few others. The thing about such phrasings, though, is that they make the point. Second, content. After all, content matters—grammar and writing style only pave the way for good content, they don’t replace it. Kulhan shares various stories of how he has worked with businesses to work improv sessions into corporate training. Especially helpful are the ideas about breaking through when structures get too siloed and the isolation is choking the business. The opening content lays the groundwork of using improv for self-improvement. That’s a key component and increases the value for individual readers. After all, your boss may hate these ideas—and has a responsibility to make sure they are valuable before the business heavily invests them—so you will need to work out how much help you find first. In all, this isn’t a light and funny book, though looking at Kulhan’s website shows he can be light and funny. It’s a good introduction to shaking things up in your mind, so that you can get more work done. Practical points are included, as are tips for dealing with those who object and refuse to try. I like it. Book provided in exchange for the review. And, yes, I would never have read it otherwise.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Charles Franklin

    Business and improv are rarely two things that you associate together but Bob Kulhan makes it work in this book. In "Getting to 'Yes And', Kulhan demonstrates that business professionals need to adopt the same flexible mindset as a comedy or theater improv performer. I would agree with that argument because the future of business is VUCA (volatile, unpredictable, complex, and ambiguous), the exact kind of setting that an improv performer sees every show. Will business professionals start integra Business and improv are rarely two things that you associate together but Bob Kulhan makes it work in this book. In "Getting to 'Yes And', Kulhan demonstrates that business professionals need to adopt the same flexible mindset as a comedy or theater improv performer. I would agree with that argument because the future of business is VUCA (volatile, unpredictable, complex, and ambiguous), the exact kind of setting that an improv performer sees every show. Will business professionals start integrating improv classes into their business training? Probably only the ones who can afford it, but I think this might be an interesting read from any business professional who wants to think "out of the box" a little.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ulushan

  6. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Dilworth

  7. 5 out of 5

    Terry Noel

  8. 4 out of 5

    Britchesfanny

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rob Brock

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Rathner

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jcicala

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

  13. 4 out of 5

    Carson

  14. 4 out of 5

    Scott Sax

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dane McFarlane

  16. 5 out of 5

    Holly

  17. 4 out of 5

    Juanda Sobrado

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dave Werner

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Simmons

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ron Hurst

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amy Wood

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jill

  24. 4 out of 5

    Walt Smith

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nimish

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Walls

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sam

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chetan Desai

  30. 4 out of 5

    Debbie O

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