My husband is an unrepentant generalist. (Kind of like his wife.) He calls himself a Human Swiss Army Knife®.
His YouTube account is filled with science stuff, makers, back-to-the-land folks, tiny homes, auto mechanics & car reviewers, inventors, movie trailers, earth movers (seriously — he likes to watch people dig!), and lots and lots of electric cars.
The other day, as we were making dinner he told me about a new (to him) luxury car make, BYD, made by a Chinese manufacturer.
BYD, it turns out, is an acronym.
“It stands for Build Your Dreams,” he said.
“Buzz Your Daisies,” I retorted.
“Big Yellow Dandelions,” he shot back.
“Bright Young Darlings,” I stuttered out.
Him: “Bubbly Youthful Dandies!”
Me: “Bling Your Daughters!”
Him: “Brighten Your Dentures!”
Me: “Bouncy Yummy Donuts!”
This went on for a good ten minutes, with lots of laughter.
And we could have kept going!
It was a great example of improv, humor, and play.
Of course, my husband and I had no goals beyond having fun, but simple games like this actually achieve multiple outcomes at once:
✅ Creativity — fast idea-generation (divergent thinking), springing from one idea to the next, is great for building creative “muscles” 💪
✅ Agility — this activity is all about bypassing the internal editor and thinking on your feet, no “um’s” and “ah’s” (easier said than done!)
✅ Spontaneity — can you come up with something completely different from what’s been said before? What if someone said what you had planned? Can you truly be spontaneous, and not pre-plan what you’re going to say?
We get better at what we practice, so imagine how much more creative, agile, and spontaneous you would be if you played even ten minutes of games like that regularly!
And in the same way the muscles you use to lift a dumbbell at the gym can also lift and carry heavy items outside of the gym, imagine how much better you’d be at thinking on your feet when unexpected questions or situations were thrown your way.
Can you see how powerful improv can be for professional development?
When I tell people I use improv in my work with organizations, they usually assume I do role playing. The truth is, while role playing is a useful tool for some situations, I very rarely do role playing in my work.
More often I lead activities that build metaphoric “muscles,” similar to what I’ve described above.
I sit down with my client to determine what their challenges are, what outcomes they’d like to achieve, and how they want to measure impact. From there, I craft a solution that uses activities very specifically designed to take participants from point A (the current situation) to point B (their desired state).
The best part?
Because we’re doing fun activities that get people laughing, just like my husband and I were doing with the “BYD” game, everyone has a blast and the learning is super-sticky!
Ready to try some improv for your next leadership training?
“Bingo! You’re Da-bomb!” 😉
I love using play to help people-first teams and organizations strengthen connection, communication, collaboration, clarity, and creativity. If you or your team could use help increasing your impact, and getting there faster and more joyfully…
…click here to reach me via my contact form and my assistant, Trish, will help schedule a time for us to have a chat, so I can learn more about you/your team.
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