Leadership Lessons from The London Comedy Store

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Time to Read: 1 min 22 secs (If you read as fast as Rosalind, our CEO)

Time to Watch: 31 min 9 secs – Contains some swearing, and some comedy

On Monday 2 December I was a member of the improvisation team at The London Comedy Store, as part of Funny Business: An evening of comedy in aid of Help the Hospices run by the London Business Forum.

Improvisation is exactly that – the audience shouts out ideas and we make it up on the spot, and ideally it is funny!

Three Top Leadership Lessons from 31 mins 9 secs of frantic fear…and fun

1. As a team, be there for each other

In Naked Leader we share with teams how to never say anything behind each other’s backs that they would not say to their faces. My experience at The Comedy Store took me one stage further – to totally trust each other, by knowing we will always be there for each other. This worked in two ways – if I had no idea what to say or do, I knew one of the team would help me, and if I saw one of the others in trouble, I jumped in – even if I had no idea what would happen next, which brings me to…

2. Trust your own gut feel

Your gut feel is a combination of everything you have ever experienced, learned and known. To work at maximum effect you must clear your mind, in effect switch off your conscious mind. As we never knew what the audience would request, or each other would say and do, it was key that we each totally trusted our own gut feel, and that whatever that gut feel came up with, was perfect. Do that in your team, in meetings and in your organisation, and when you do…

3. Make Offers

This was a massive learning for me – and the principal guideline we were given by our leader, Neil, in advance. Rather than close down conversations:

e.g. “Good morning Doctor”

“I am not a doctor”

When an offer is made (you are a doctor) go for it. Imagine the power if we did this in our teams. Instead of looking to be “right”, for a dispute or disagreement, we would make offers to each other that take the conversation forward.

Thank you to the king of improvisation Neil Mullarkey, to Marc Lewis and Steve McDermott, and to everyone who came and supported Help the Hospices – especially the Naked Leader turnout, and our client partners Volvo Trucks, Ford Retail and Molten.

Your turn – shout out a subject for an NL week in the comments below

With my love and best wishes


Next week, my letter to Father Christmas, and on 30th How to Make 2014 your Best Year Ever.

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