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Don’t Prepare – Just show up!

Posted by  Andrew Rixon —September 21, 2005
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ImprovwisdomA great little book which I’ve been working my way through lately is Improv Wisdom .

There are some great wisdoms for life in this book, like the following four:

  • “Say Yes”
  • “Be Average”
  • “Make Mistakes, Please”
  • “Take Care of Each Other”

From an organisational perspective I often wonder about the “Say Yes” maxim. It seems to me that there is a culture in some organisations where the person who actually does practice the ‘say yes’ maxim is somehow considered inferior or weak, a walk over. I remember one of my first jobs working as a systems administrator. Saying “No” seemed to be a lesson in self-preservation, a protective mechanism against drowning in the overwhelming demands from everyone important in the company. Like the book suggests, however, it is often when we “Say Yes” that we find ourselves in the most interesting, unexplored and unchartered territory.

I wonder what culture change might occur in an organisation which considered and took seriously the above 4 maxims….?

About  Andrew Rixon

6 Responses to “Don’t Prepare – Just show up!”

  1. Matt Moore Says:

    My answer is often: Say “Yes – And…” with some request on the other person to follow. i.e. “If you are asking me to stick my neck out then this isn’t a one way street”. People generally respond well to that and the ones that don’t are often people I wouldn’t want to work with anyway…
    I don’t know about “Be average” but “Make mistakes please” and “Take care of each other” are SO important.
    Nice one, Shawn…

  2. Shawn Callahan Says:

    Hi Matt, thanks for your comment but the praise should go to Andrew. This is his first post.

  3. Andrew Says:

    Thanks Matt… I really like the “Say Yes- And…”

    Johnnie Moore has posted a review of Improv Wisdom which you might find of interest…

  4. Matt Moore Says:

    Sorry Andrew – should have been paying attention.
    Now tell me a bit more about the “Be Average”…

  5. Andrew Says:

    Aha, paying attention is important! It is the 6th Maxim. With “Be Average” Patricia suggests that “When you try hard to do your best, the effect on your performance is often to jinx it.” She suggests to try “Dare to be dull”, “Be nothing special” and “Cultivate ordinary Mind”…. You’ll have to check the book for the rest!

  6. Charles Says:

    In our organisation a strong culture has developed around the principle of saying yes, unless you have a better alternative. Too many times no is used as an automatic response, without much thought about different views. So next time, why not say yes!

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