Friday, October 28, 2011

Marian Rich: Musings on business leadership and performance -- a word from the wise to our Congress

Good morning, Hanksteristas!

On a personal note, I happened to catch up briefly this morning with my dear friend Marian Rich and I wanted to share a bit of our history with you. Marian and I "came around" together (as we say) to the development community in the mid-eighties. Michael Jackson, compromised/ failing marriages, the end of the left as we knew it... Well, you get the picture!

Marian and I persevered.  That's our trademark.

And I was inspired when I read her latest entry today on her website, I thought that Congress could take a note from Marian. Not that they are listening... But maybe someday, somewhere....

If you haven't already, please do subscribe to Marian Rich Musings on business leadership and performance. I highly recommend this new performance-oriented blog that offers fresh, innovative and practical advice and philosophy about navigating today's world.

Marian -- thanks for all you do!!

Marian Rich
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Marian Rich is President of Career Play, Inc. - executive coach, trainer, researcher, recruiter and performing artist. Grounded in an innovative performance-based approach to human development with over a decade of experience as a retained executive search consultant, Marian has unique experiences in building and growing innovative, out-of-the box organizations. She is an Artistic Associate of the Castillo Theatre, where she regularly performs musical improv comedy with The Proverbial Loons.

Here's her latest:

Improvisational magic
Not surprisingly I am an improvisation advocate.  This week I had a series of conversations with a diverse grouping of executives, friends, and colleagues about various life challenges.  In almost every case I found myself advocating on behalf of the basics of improvisation: 

Say yes
Actively listen
Focus on the ensemble and/or the other
Stay postive
Build and create with others

I've been reading a few articles this week that brought improvisation to mind. One article in the HBR this week -- How to Really Listen by Peter Bregman -- has much to say about listening that I agree with.  Sadly Bregman leaves out play, performance and improvisation and offers readers a cognitive behavioral approach to developing better listening capabilities.  

One thing that Bergman wrote in this article jumped out at me and it is this simple statement:
Listening, it turns out, is magic. 
I think there is a magic that comes with creating conversation and a key ingredient is active listening. This made me think of the wonderful work that my colleague, Cathy Salit the CEO of Performance of A Lifetime, does with corporate executives.  Cathy is an expert at helping people actively listen and create new conversations.  Here's a wonderful excerpt to an interview Cathy recently gave with Michelle James on her blog, The Fertile Unknown
What mindsets and behaviors do you see as essential for effectively navigating the new work paradigm?Cathy: Improvise. Perform. Relate to every conversation, meeting, and interaction as an improvisational scene in which you are a performer, writer and director. Break rules and make up new ones — not just in coming up with ideas, but in how we organize what we do together and how we do it in the workplace. Become a creative artist whose medium is everyday life.
We can all become a creative artist "whose medium is everyday life" -- now that's magic!

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