Steve, Ninety Nine Percent, Thirty One Years discussed on John Williams

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Can especially if we can kind of maybe put a bunch of your ideas or podcasts in one neat little package and talk about that right so as not to invade Steve space yeah so yeah I feel fine about just go ahead. I mean like how was it that you're even on Steve's show because Steve's as a business so what are you doing over there I work for a company that has a business division that in that's what the that's what made my interviews are about second city has a business division yes I can see works and that's a comedy company what company an improv company but I mean do you know comedy for messaging right comedy is a sticky way this is why the Superbowl you watch Superbowl talk comedy adds a because that really sticks and then improvisation is the ability for human beings to be more agile be more change ready more resilient when I go to second city though I'm not thinking about business or change I'm thinking about a let's go have a fun time well there's that too so that's the I presume that was the genesis of second city a well yes sex is not not advertise itself is like going to the dentist or anything so. same thing with like you know we're gonna open a you could you could you could probably help me but I mean the genesis of second city was like was improv right yeah but but what we get many people don't realize is the genesis of the improv exercises that among at trained and we're done by a sociologist in the twenties and thirties agree items whole house yeah. no kidding set the Segway than to these business applications was natural yeah absolutely okay so there you are doing something like that with Steve what's this business than of a series of podcasts about the power of getting uncomfortable well yeah so this is this is a conversation you I have because LF your producers my producer so we'll end up talking about like what what teams are you saying in one of the things that I saw over the course of like these three podcast one was with a Harvard Business School professor one was with a black studies sociologist and one was with like a branding guy all of them talked about the power of getting uncomfortable as a way to innovate make canoe and get ahead in we know little about about this at second city because in improv a lot of it is getting you use to ambiguity you know when you're creating something out a script you really have to be comfortable that this thing can go anywhere which means you have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. the title of their your podcast is getting gas and getting the yes and and then and I I I I bring that point up because it seems like you're touching on that here what is the meaning of the title of your podcast right so improvisation if it's groups of people are making something out of nothing without a script which is kind of what we all do everyday in our in our work in our lives no one's handing a scripts normally we get no where we say no and actually can't get very far by just saying yes we have to say yes and we have to affirm and contribute in order to explore and heighten so you really have to see the need to be right which is a big thing in improv and allow by your standing with someone else for maybe this idea that is emerging to be co created and not just the product of your single imagination but the discomfort comes where discomfort comes in that we don't want we don't want to work in a script we want to have our ideas we want to have a road map in that's the way our brains are wired so really these business people are these sociologists telling you that if you want to be successful in business you're not gonna find that fertile ground right you find yourself uncomfortable yeah and that and also so the other idea that was coming true is you have to let other voices and an ice come into your world to make discoveries because you just see too much of a great example of this was in World War two this is great story in in Cary pasando from harbor talks about this that they were looking at the planes that were coming back from battle and examining where the bullet holes were in there like look we got to reinforce the place for these people holes were but they had no correlation to actually the planes that were coming back so the statistician Abram Abraham Wald came and they brought in and look at us like what are you seeing and he's like you know what I'm saying you don't need to worry about where the bullet holes are you should worry about where they aren't because where they aren't means the the planes I got shot down. you know these these the the bulls were hitting the place where was okay the the battle landed so yeah they can withstand that yes where the bullet holes on this plane is the place that we do have that's a fast that is mind blowing and yet it's it's certainly obvious simple but it's not simple if it you know I always talk about this which is I've lived essentially in the same area in Chicago for my entire time working second city which is thirty one years I drive the same way I've stopped looking or seeing anything new or different because it just this is always the way I drive and so it's very hard to get yourself out of your your own patterns and they'll only things you see so the you know all of these great thinkers talk about the need to save that Allen at Adamson who's a marketing guy talk about leadership because find the desk farthest away from the customer and that's where the person in charge often sets which is a terrible place to be you don't want to be for this the way you want to be in with your customers actually see what's going on and that require you know with this is the thing we do when they've success can sometimes be a trap because you start to just because her believe everything you touch is golden and you keep doing things the same way and maybe you have a little bit more success but down the line things change and you might not be able to be keeping up at that point we were at an event here for this radio station not that long ago and the guy said that Netflix is an example of that at a time when ninety nine percent of their business was rentals they decided to get out of the rental this right because they knew that this was not. where that industry was going sure can you imagine somebody running the register ninety nine cents on every dollar coming in this rental is go we got to get out of this this is a bad idea to go but he gonna do we gonna do sales were going to do streaming wait that's not even been invented or it's one percent of the business you are right that that's what they get yeah and blockbuster didn't by Netflix. about that think about that and think about the fact that you know Kodak in in film and not going digital at the end and by the way the people who invented the iPod they all work to Kodak really yeah well can you give me another example the what's a more practical application of this I mean all right so I understand those and accounts but I don't know I managing a machine shop or a school or or or business how do how do I use this getting uncomfortable idea yeah so so a couple different things that that we've done which is having people from different departments which for a day or two days or a week and see what they discover inside what new ideas can can they bring in it's for leaders who recognize that when they have a meeting maybe someone doesn't talk up there very introverted so you have to create space for that person's idea to emerge yes sometimes shutting up is a really great thing to do because it allows you to hear better in I know my my friend Neal Stephenson who ran idea here the design firm for a while he's designed all these interactions that he gives many of his clients like when you get in and Burr have an uncomfortable conversation with a guy who's driving or when you get to the airport go into the magazine store and pick out a magazine you would never read you know all these different crops that just allow you to get a little outside of your comfort zone but that doesn't help me with my employees that just trains my brain to be more open to new ideas that you're so that yeah that that that's what you want to do because you want your everyone wants their employees to bring them great ideas but it's not enough to sort of say I have an open office door to your great idea a good leader finds props and and training and coaching for their people so that they can tease out their best ideas I give you a quick example second city Mick Napier famous director here in town has a thing called taboo day he knows that even the great you know talent at second city sometimes sensors themselves so he says are you need to bring an idea that second city would never allowed to be on the stage. it is too offensive it's too expensive it's too crazy and lo and behold everyone is you know they're they're suddenly the shackles are off. four out of six of those ideas are gonna end up on stage really yes because they are interesting and they're different and they there is a way to get this this really creative thinking and make it work so it can be turned into content. seems to me like when I hear stuff like this a lot of the employees are going good idea but I don't care if I tell the boss what I really think or what I think's going wrong or my new idea which is counter to the current thinking they'll be defensive about it sure all have hell to pay yeah I mean you got to also know where you sit and over your company sets any admin center some we had on the podcast a long while ago she's the person who defined this term psychological safety which is necessary for groups to do great work Google did this big study was called project Aristotle what was the number one thing that innovative teams needed psychological safety so it's it's legendary and is out there look I'm finding in my experience we work with you know we do something like seven hundred dates a year with fortune one thousand companies. you're not calling second city because you wanna play it safe so there's at least seven hundred companies out there and many of them are are you know who they are the Nike is the Netflix the googles of the world who do you understand the power of unleashing an individual's mind in the power of teams and then the companies who don't you know you have to make a decision for yourself you want to work in a space from a second city and WGN radio is getting DSM podcaster Kelly Leonard is in our studio we're talking about a series of podcasts he's recently done if there was a thing to them you could say the power of getting uncomfortable so then is it really that like I'll get my employees in the room and I'm going to find a prompt to make us uncomfortable is that well that's what we do right so you would companies will hire second city to come in and leave their employees through a variety of exercises many which seem like totally benign but they are designed to do just that to get you sort of thinking a bit differently and then we progressed the workshop over the of their often like three hours long where then they can start you know sharing their ideas and their scenarios and things that happen in their business yeah it's not enough just to say I'm comfortable it with many things MM I think we've talked about this before it's a practice yeah you never go to second city and think that we didn't rehearse you never go to you know white text Parker Wrigley Field and think that they didn't like stretch yet we all walk in our businesses and you know lots of money is at stake and how many people actually practicing the thing that they do how lucky for the employees the the the employers engage in this yeah because I guess this is a top down idea yeah well top down and bottom up right that's what it needs to be I think people have discovered that.

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