"In periods of upheaval, imagination triumphs over the status quo, and innovators and visionaries find opportunities that do not exist in balmier times." [Mike Bonifer]
Your success depends on your ability to solve problems. This is a truth I learned from experience. The skeptics will probably take issue with the word "improvise". Mike Bonifer's manifesto makes a well-reasoned case for why it's a good idea to start thinking differently. Life doesn't stick to a script, so why would business?
The best sales people I worked with had the knowledge and experience behind them to know that listening and being in the conversation with customers and prospects is the winning way.
In fact, I'd say that experience shows when you have accumulated enough mileage to let go of the rules long enough to respond to the problem or situation at hand. Often, you create new opportunity just by responding in a new way - in negotiations, partnerships, even personal relationships, that injects a sense of possibility into the equation (done in the positive).
How many conversations are exactly the same as others you've had in the past? Do you enjoy when you receive a call from someone who's reading a script? "This is the way we do things around here," is often the least conducive way to innovation.
We've also been talking about building context with marketing. As well, it's important to understand how the context plays on your decision and ability to solve problems in new ways. I many B2B marketing situations and budgets all you have is the one chance to make a good impression. Will that chance be spent on being exactly wrong, or will it be invested in being interesting and different?
Some pointers from Bonifer (in bold):
- You're already and improviser - sometimes the best meetings and brainstorms are not even planned. How many times in a day do you have unscripted moments? You bring to bear your knowledge and experience to solve problems as they present themselves. That is improvisation.
- It begins with communication - listening is all about improvising. When you listen aggressively or actively, you are asking questions and are getting involved in the conversation. Communication is the R&D of thinking and processing information. That to me is what "how talk can change our lives" means.
- Improvisation puts a human face on business - this is the main reason why Twitter and FriendFeed are so interesting. In both social spaces, information is built upon as it's passed on from person to person. The network activates thousands of human channels and allows lots of micro interactions.
- It is first, about you - no question, even in this networked world where everyone shares, each of us needs to take responsibility for our own actions. I really like what Bonifer teaches here - stand from something, be that action.
- It builds relationships - business is very much about what people can do together. If you think about the purpose-idea that is at the foundation of your company, then it's how that purpose is expressed and how it comes to life as the ideas get done through interactions.
- It makes you a player in a changing game - this is a big lesson for companies with big egos because it is by far more productive to participate in something that is happening than to try to control how it should happen. Many thoughts here about community building and facilitation as well.
"Improvisation invites participation, liberates good ideas, and challenges players to work at the height of their intelligence." Start thinking about improvisation in the context of open content and mobile and you will be able to partake of a bigger slice than just script or no-script. You will, in fact, learn to make the pie bigger.
I've taken a brief course on improvisation. Back in the old world, I also took a liking to the stage, both as a choreographer and an actor. We could all say we're actors on the stage that is life. Are you interested in improv? Have you used its principles? What did you like about it? What didn't you like about it? Why?