Welcome to Change Your Mindset (formerly known as Improv Is No Joke) where it is all about believing that strong communication skills are the best way in delivering your technical accounting knowledge and growing your business. The way of building stronger communication skills is by embracing the principles of applied improvisation. Your host is Peter Margaritis, CPA a.k.a. The Accidental Accountant, will interview financial professionals and business leaders to find their secret in building stronger relationships with their clients, customers, associates, and peers, all the while, growing their businesses.
Ep. 70 – Annie Conderacci: Facilitating Growth & Positive Change with Improv
Annie Conderacci is a change management consultant and a passionate student of improv. She studied and performed improv at The Second City, Annoyance Theater, and IO Chicago, and she performs improv and sketch all around the city.
As a change and management consultant, Annie frequently uses her improv skills to facilitate growth and positive change in organizations. Throughout the interview, she does an outstanding job of describing how improv can be applied to business, and discusses how you can use improv to defuse difficult situations.
Annie fell in love with Improv the first time she saw Second City – she went to business school in Chicago so that she could also take classes.
She was first drawn to the culture of imperfection. When she saw that you can make mistakes sometimes, and you don’t have to be perfect or even scripted, something clicked.
As she moved up through the levels at Second City, it got more challenging… but it never stopped being fun or supportive. One of the most important lessons that she learned, and that she still applies in the workplace, is that you can challenge people in a way that makes them feel supported and taken care of, and that allows them to take bigger risks than they might in a safe environment.
The freedom to fail is important, and that can mean something as simple as framing failure as a learning opportunity. Improvisers will have so many bad shows – way more bad than good – but it’s the bad shows that they really learn the most from.
And it’s important to note that, even if you are in the worst culture in the world, you can still do something within your own space, and you can make the conscious decision to not perpetuate a culture that is counterproductive. If you’re fun to work with, people are going to want to work with you, especially if your methods create results.
Improv also teaches us greater empathy, and it teaches us to acknowledge the way other people feel. Always saying Yes, And forces you to consider the other person’s point of view and add to it, as opposed to dismissing it; Yes, And helps you unlearn unproductive behavior. This is a powerful life tool that helps on stage, at work, and at home.
Can you imagine how powerful it would be if people learned these skills as kids?
If we started with kids, and kids could start acknowledging these behaviors early, building good teams, developing leadership skills, thinking quickly on your feet, and supporting each other… that may actually make a great difference in the world.
Annie works with an incredible non profit called Room2Improv that works with children in Chicago. “By teaching them how to explore, embrace and adopt the techniques of improvisation into everyday living, we motivate individuals to care about themselves and others, make healthy choices and effective decisions and use their confidence to overcome their fears.”
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